Carefully Configure Your Wireless Network

A Wi-Fi network that has been carefully designed from the ground up is far more likely to improve warehouse productivity, resource utilisation and inventory management than one based on any ‘off the shelf’ products, says Renovotec managing director Richard Gilliard.

Building optimal wireless network with an ‘always on’ connection to people and information requires a project lifecycle plan that’s tailor-made to the unique needs and conditions of your warehouse operations.

The core elements of an effective project lifecycle include:

1. Planning

It starts with a detailed plan, accurate testing and preparation, and most crucially, a wireless site survey.

A wireless site survey (usually conducted at an existing location) will verify the coverage and capacity of the existing network and covers Wi-Fi coverage areas, application capacity, authentication, Wi-Fi roaming and quality of service.

A desktop site survey (also known as a ‘simulation survey’) is designed for businesses that want to plan and optimise their network connection in a new site, typically before the premises are constructed.

Tests such as Wi-Fi heatmaps help visualise coverage and provide accurate predictive coverage mapping. This is vital for establishing optimal locations for the cables and access points (APs).

2. Design

An effective design phase considers the physical dimensions and existing/potential limitations of a warehouse environment, including metal structures, beams and furniture, moving vehicles and changes to stock and inventory locations. This enables you to identify the impact these factors have on the integrity of your network.

The right combination of hardware, software and ongoing support/service are identified based on the unique demands of a warehousing operation. This will ensure connectivity problems and signal failure does not affect productivity, impact revenue, risk customer confidence and cause unnecessary issues for your mission-critical processes.

3. Integration

Next, you need to consider deploying the solution. Working with a trusted integration partner like Renovotec ensures every element of the pre-determined network design is installed across a warehousing site to your exact specifications. This can include integrating network switches into the existing stack, installing new APs and accommodating for fibre and network cabling.

4. Optimisation

Then the network can be fully stress tested to ensure consistent coverage across a site to ensure this new or refreshed network is stable, secure and performing at optimum parameters. Optimisation is crucial to the lifecycle of a wireless network, especially when preparing the network for periods of increased use and potential bandwidth issues.

5. Maintenance

Any network can struggle during periods of peak business or from unforeseen technical issues, so it’s imperative that a new Wi-Fi network is supported with an ongoing maintenance program. From remote mobile device management (MDM) to swift hardware repair and replacement, this type of proactive maintenance ensures your wireless network is always operating at optimum levels.

Looking to the future

The effectiveness and overall success of any warehouse operation comes down to the speed and reliability of its network. Whether its connecting workers with the latest orders for picking or tracking items as they move through your inventory, that flow of data is vital. A robust network delivers the best possible coverage and reduces the risk of signal losses or blackouts.

With a robust and problem-free network, supply chain organisations gain maximum return on investment while improving productivity, efficiency and meeting revenue goals. It’s time to build a network that is future proofed and ready to scale with the demands of your customers.

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