Ekahau design for better warehouse WiFi performance

How using pre-deployment software such as Ekahau can help industrial and manufacturing warehouses plan for better WiFi performance.

Designing and implementing a WiFi network the right way will minimise problems and future proof your warehouse operations. Get the design wrong, and it will be a major headache for everyone.

For industrial and manufacturing warehouses, high performing WiFi is critical to the supply chain. But it is also complex as there are many types of obstructions in a warehouse that you don’t get in in traditional office spaces such as high ceilings, obstructions, changing environments or extreme temperatures. And your WiFi must be able to deal with all of these.

Poor warehouse WiFi can literally bring down your manufacturing line. For example, logistics teams use handheld devices to track inventory and without WiFi access, those handhelds cannot report inventory usage or arrival – leaving your company with too much or not enough inventory. Something which directly impacts operational costs, customer service and the bottom line.

Design is vital for successful Warehouse WiFi project

No two warehouses are the same and you need to be careful in setting up and maintaining your WiFi. There are lots of issues in a warehouse you need to consider such as large numbers of access points, mezzanine levels, unpredictable racking of products, moving forklifts, very high ceilings and safety constraints.

When you deploy a wireless network without pre-planning you will run into trouble. High-performance WiFi needs to be planned and evaluated before you deploy. Even before you order or install your equipment you should perform a pre-deployment site survey to measure the radio signal propagation on the manufacturing floor. This will help you plan the appropriate number of access points and their locations and discover any neighbouring interferences that could impact your warehouse WiFi performance.

Warehouse WiFi that provides superior roaming

In the manufacturing environment, forget about the tablets, forget about the phones, in the warehouse you will encounter a variety of handheld devices, some good and some bad in terms of signal strength and rate jumping. When you are planning your WiFi network during site surveys, keep in mind the types of devices and clients used in the plant. Wireless is about mobility. Old networks were not designed for roaming because coverage was not continuous. Even new networks are sometimes not correctly designed for roaming. A mix of standalone and controller driven access points will rarely be configured for roaming between them, if even possible. And warehouses encounter WiFi problems with roaming more than anything else, so keep this in mind.