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4 questions and 1 answer about Warehouse Wi-Fi

Just as logistics is an integral part of most businesses, it's hard to imagine the IT infrastructure of an enterprise, especially a logistics center, without Wi-Fi.

It seems that business requirements for Wi-Fi are not too complicated: connection everywhere, securely, quickly and reliably. Why are coverage or download speed complaints part of the day-to-day operations of many businesses?

As a rule, subsidence of one of the four given characteristics is caused either by the specifics of using Wi-Fi, or by the specifics of the physical space within which the network is deployed. However, most often it's trivial design errors.

For example, for a logistics center or warehouse, the following should be taken into account when building a network:

  • Complicated radio frequency configuration of premises (many metal structures, racks, partitions).

  • Aggressive working environment (cold, hot, humid).

  • Unstable or changeable RF environment (cables, electric vehicles, various cargo materials. Sometimes one row gives such signal attenuation as several load-bearing reinforced concrete walls.

  • Large, as a rule, area of ​​the room.

  • Difficulties with cabling. Bringing optics to the object for each access point is not a solution for the frugal. And the ability of a copper, relatively cheap cable is not enough to achieve the required length (for a copper segment, the length is limited to 100 m).

Therefore, when implementing a wireless network project, certain steps cannot be skipped, no matter how much you want to cut deadlines or budget. The result may be unpredictable. And these are financial or reputational risks.

Unfortunately there is no universal solution for all objects. Wi-Fi for an airport, business center and logistics center are different systems with different equipment and functional requirements. However, there is a certain recommended way.

5 Steps to Get a Quality Wi-Fi Network

1. First, you need to clearly understand the purpose of building a wireless network, namely: which zones need to be covered, what is the potential number of subscribers for each zone, what bandwidth is needed. It is also important to understand the climatic parameters of the environment (limiting temperatures, the possibility of high humidity, etc.) and consider the requirements for information security. All this affects the choice of category of equipment.

2. At the next stage, radio reconnaissance or radio planning is carried out. Of course, it is better to do radio reconnaissance at a real site. This allows you to evaluate the radio frequency environment and possible influences, such as: various signal interference (permanent or temporary) or external sources of signals at certain frequencies (for example, a microwave in which lunch is sometimes heated). Radio reconnaissance does not require much time, but the data obtained as a result of the survey become the basis for further design.

If there is no access to the site (or perhaps the site itself is still at the stage of construction or renovation), radio planning is carried out. Basically, this is the same radio intelligence but in a “synthetic” space. Such a process often requires more experience and attention to detail.

Of all the steps on the recommended path, this one is perhaps the most important. Without it, the risk increases that there will be either few or too many design access points, and the points themselves and antennas for them may not be optimally selected. And most importantly, this stage allows you to clearly set the tasks for building SCS – communication and power lines for establishing access points. There is no way to do completely without cables. Even with mesh systems, the access points need power.

3. Moving further along the recommended path, we reach the stage of analyzing the data obtained, equipment selection, design development and approval of the project.

4. In the end, we mount and configure the system. When comments appear, we conduct a second radio reconnaissance to check the radio frequency environment in case of changes or new factors since the design. This is a normal practice that allows you to use high-quality communications until new requirements and standards appear or changes in business tasks.

5. In the future, we support the operation. We plan ways of further development.

Why make it so difficult?

We at the Accord Group have repeatedly come across the opinion that it is not necessary to complicate the process of creating the most ordinary Wi-Fi.

The fact is that this complexity is the key to the reliability and predictability of the result.

In the warehouse, many processes depend on communication and Wi-Fi. A complete stop of Wi-Fi in a correctly configured network is unlikely. But floating problems with incorrect planning can arise and greatly spoil your life. For example, what would be the consequences if:

  • complete loss of communication in the warehouse,

  • regular failures,

  • if some devices cannot connect to the network,

  • if, with a change in the nature of products in a row, the connection in the neighboring one worsens or disappears;

  • if, as a result of a repair with welding in an adjacent room, you lose communication in a part of the warehouse

  • etc.

An optimally designed network will be much better at handling such problems. 

High-quality Wi-Fi as a key innovative development

Another reason to follow the recommended path when creating a wireless network is the opportunity to introduce innovations that will later become indispensable assistants and drivers of business development. In times of war, it is difficult to raise the topic of using innovations, because most businesses are struggling to survive. At the same time, it must be remembered that, regardless of the events in Ukraine, the world is moving towards ever-deeper automation, which in the context of globalization actually leaves us with no choice. 

For example, a few years ago the Internet of Things (IoT) was just a technological chip. However, these technologies are all around us now.

It is interesting that the term itself and its definition were proposed by a representative of the logistics industry – an employee of Procter & Gamble back in 1999. He came up with the idea of ​​marking goods with tags for quick search and identification. And this is over 20 years ago!

Currently, IoT technologies include various means of information exchange between devices. These are radio frequency identification tools (RFID and NFC tags), climate sensors, smoke, fire, hazardous substances sensors, wireless chips on cargo or tools, personal cameras for employees, various robotic platforms and many other options.

Often the deployment of a Wi-Fi network in a warehouse, hangar or workshop begins with the requirement to provide secure communications for employees moving around the warehouse. We are talking not only about classic calls, but also various options for conferences and access to company resources and services.

Among the most common reasons is the provision of video surveillance and monitoring for security purposes. At the same time, video surveillance in a warehouse has its own characteristics, since it is often associated with RFID scanners installed at key points, such as exits, doors, loading areas. IP cameras on rolling stock and RFID tags act as eyes and ears to continuously monitor the movement of goods.

And again – high-quality Wi-Fi is the foundation for the operation of such devices and systems.

Accord Group will help!

If you share our approach to building a network. There is a need to create a high-quality Wi-Fi network, or you are not satisfied with the existing system according to one of the criteria: coverage, reliability, security, speed, let's talk about it! 

Accord Group is among the few companies in Ukraine that can deal with such complex facilities as a logistics center or a shopping center with a warehouse.

Find out how we built a wireless network for six FOZZY GROUP logistics centers and created WI-FI for RESPUBLIKA PARK tenants and clients.

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