WiFi for Warehouses
Warehouse facilities are busy, complex environments that bring a range of technical challenges to providing high-performing wireless coverage. What’s more, modern warehouses need reliable connectivity across the entire facility in order to provide reliable employee communication and inventory logistics. With over 25 years’ industry experience, we’re well placed to provide tailored wireless warehousing solutions to improve your supply chain and meet your business goals.
If you’re looking for technical help with a warehouse project, get in touch with us today for one of our experts to discuss your business’ requirements, or explore our comprehensive WiFi survey offering.
Our custom built WiFi solutions take into account everything from your premises size, construction and types of device connecting to the network. Whether it be high racking, dense and metallic goods being stored or local interference which could affect signal levels our engineers will take this into account when designing the network.
The engineering team will design and install a network that guarantees coverage to pre-defined signal level to ensure even the smallest of devices like phones or handheld devices have fast stable connections.
Bespoke Survey & Design
Performance Networks experienced engineers will attend site and perform a wireless survey. This will identify any potential sources of interference and specific venue obstacles which would hinder WiFi coverage. The survey looks all aspects of the building incorporates a full spectrum analysis to pick up any other devices working within similar frequencies.
The engineer will also check the type of internet connection currently used onsite as this plays a major role in the WiFi experience. Once the survey is complete the engineer will compile a report with their findings and the required works to provide strong coverage throughout.
Quality of Service
Applications such as VoIP, video and certain audio applications can require prioritised and guaranteed bandwidth to run effectively.
Our networks can be fully optimised to give quality and priority of service to any application. We can then constantly manage and monitor performance via our cloud controller software allowing us to make any changes to your network instantly. The team can also create a specific cloud based controller for you with full or read only access should you wish to manage the network or have visibility.
Contact us now to talk about your requirements and to book a site survey 0115 822 1212
Advice for Better Warehouse WiFi Coverage
One of the major problems we tend to see with warehouse or depot WiFi issues is with respect to using tablets or handheld devices, which are common tools in the warehouse environment. It does not matter if you have the latest and greatest Access Points and infrastructure if old client devices are being used. These devices and what they’re capable of supporting will, in effect, limit the WiFi’s performance. (For example are the devices using 802.11b, g, n or ac?)
Another factor to keep in mind is how these old devices are being used. Are they scanning items at ground level, or at all levels of the warehouse? This makes a major difference in deciding the placement and type of Access Points or antennas that are required for a strong network.
Lastly, we always recommend updating to the latest firmware on all the client devices as well as the, WiFi system itself (i.e. Access Points or Controller). Why should you upgrade regularly? For one there may already be a “fix” to the issues you’re experiencing and the upgrade will resolve this. Plus it’s free to upgrade, so there’s nothing to lose.
Warehouse Access Point Locations
Our starting point with this issue is to consider the following questions:
- Where are the Access Points(APs) currently located in your depot or warehouse?
- Are they mounted on the walls, ceiling or racking?
- Also are directional or omnidirectional antennas in use?
- At what height are they mounted and are they mounted vertically or horizontally?
All these things make a great deal of difference to your wireless signal propagation and coverage. For example, if we placed a 2.2dBi omnidirectional antenna on a ceiling, with a height of 6 metres, it may give wireless coverage to the warehouse aisle floor – but a 12dBi omnidirectional antenna would not. This all comes down to the design of the network and whether or not it is optimal for your warehouse. That means careful planning is required when choosing the correct Access Point and antenna combination.
Other considerations for your warehouse WiFi include whether or not to use an integral or external antenna. Finally, is your Access Point required to work in extreme temperatures or in moisture-rich environments within the warehouse facility? If so there are plenty of options available, such as hardened or sealed Access Points, and also the use of external antennas.
Warehouse Access Point (AP) Power
If you find you have poor WiFi coverage in your warehouse, then setting the power level, or leaving it on the often-default setting of full power, is rarely the best path to take. Conversely, it usually adds to the issues. There are various reasons for this. A common one is that the client devices can see the AP signal, but the AP can’t see the clients’ return signal (as APs generally have a higher Transmit Power compared to 99% of clients. A way to picture this is a conversation between two people on opposite ends of your warehouse – only one of them us issuing a megaphone, and the other does not.
Also, higher power levels can increase interference, due to the increased coverage. Obviously, this depends on how many Access Points are in use, the antenna patterns, as well as building and racking attenuation factors.
Your warehouse or depot will rarely remain the same inside. You may have to increase the amount of racking depending on business growth, or there may be seasonal variations in the goods you store there. This amount of variation is often not taken into consideration when planning your wireless coverage, so it’s often best to plan for the racking to be full at the start of your warehouse project.
Be aware of the type of goods that are stored in your warehouse, as they will have differing attenuation figures. For example, a warehouse that stocks wooden furniture will affect the wireless signal differently to one that stocks metal car parts.
Incorrect Channel Usage And Interference
The most common wireless bands used in the UK are the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band. The 2.4GHz band is much smaller, with only 3 non-overlapping channels (never use any overlapping channels if at all possible). So as soon as you install over three Access Points (APs) you have the possibility of starting to create your own interference.
Although there are many more complexities, in short the main thing you need to know is that the 5GHz band can take up to 19 indoor channels, somewhat more than the 2.4Ghz band. You might think it sounds easy, and that you should just use the 5Ghz band. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Other issues can adversely affect this band too, such as interference from neighbouring buildings, signal propagation or even weather radar using some of the channels. That said, it’s still the best band to base your design around.
Note: Only 3 2.4Ghz channels 1, 6 and 11 can be considered non-overlapping, whereas the 5GHz band can have up 19 non-overlapping channels.
Warehouse Wireless Surveys
You can see there are many factors that can affect WiFi performance in your warehouse facility. So, where do you start? A wireless survey is essential
, whether you need to pinpoint the flaws in your current setup, or design a brand new WiFi network for your warehouse project.
If you need help planning or improving your warehouse wireless network, then get in touch with one of our experts today