WiFi Survey, Redesign & Implementation
Established in 1958 Bearmach are one of the world leading manufactures of Land Rover parts, shipping over 330,000 parts to over 140 countries per month.
Bearmach engaged Performance Networks to conduct a wireless site survey covering their Caerphilly warehouse and offices. Bearmach use their WiFi network to connect handheld scanners and other devices which are integral to day to day operations.
The handheld scanners in the warehouses were experiencing “drop outs” across the WiFi network, resulting in reduced productivity.
The existing hardware used onsite was enterprise grade Cisco Access Points(APs) with dual controllers.
A full WiFi survey and network analysis was performed to understand both the current infrastructure and diagnose issues. The WiFi survey used a combination of Ekahau Site survey/Spectrum Analysis software & Wireshark captures to determine what was happening onsite.
The survey highlighted several aspects which required improvement, they’re were areas where the signal strength needed to be improved, internal WiFi interference, issues with devices roaming between access points and suboptimal placement and mounting orientation of the access points.
An optimisation report and plan was then drawn up detailing remedies for each of the areas that required improvement.
The report and plans included a fully redesigned coverage model which was built by performing an onsite “AP on a stick” survey using the recommended model of access point to prove and record coverage in the areas required.
The data from both the existing network and the additional access points was then used to provide a hybrid survey showing coverage of the whole site which provided the exact equipment and resource specifications to fully optimise the WiFi network.
Once on site we started by optimising the coverage, repositioning the existing Cisco hardware and installing the additional points as per the hybrid design report, this resulted in full guaranteed coverage to all the required areas.
Our next task was to optimise the controller radio settings for the 2.4GHz & 5GHz bands – reducing cell coverage, increasing data rates and giving the RRM(Radio Resource management) optimal parameters.
We then surveyed the warehouse, checking coverage and interference. Using this data we further tweaked the controller settings and surveyed again. After a final survey the WiFi network was fully optimised and ready for operational testing.
The next step was to reintroduce their handheld scanners. They were two models of scanners in use the first which used 802.11a,b,g and second using 802.11a,b,g,n.
During operational testing we found the handheld scanners were still having the occasional issue with roaming between access points.
As the client device (handheld scanner) makes the decision on when to roam we adjusted and optimised each handheld scanners roaming settings. After further testing we found the best settings for each scanner, which we’re unique to each model due to differing hardware.
Bearmach now had a fully redesigned network which provided measured and proven coverage to all areas, along with a network that was fully optimised for their requirements. Resulting in no drops outs and increased productivity.
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