By Kim Gunn at Grandstream
With the tremendous growth of Wi-Fi-supported devices and mobile internet applications, warehouses are relying on Wi-Fi technology now more than ever. Wireless access points have evolved from the pursuit of connectivity and coverage to the goal of supporting high-capacity access to as many wireless clients as possible, without network interruption. Designing a warehouse Wi-Fi network is determined by a several important factors. Let’s take a look at what should be considered when building a warehouse Wi-Fi solution.
Understanding why Wi-Fi is important to your warehouse
Mobility is a key factor in ensuring that any warehouse, distribution center, or factory runs a smooth operation. Providing the facility with Wi-Fi access from anywhere within the building is not only for implementing a smooth technology system that keeps all operations going without interruption, but also for the productivity and safety of employees. Within a warehouse, devices such as scanners, laptops, mobile phones, automated picking systems, automated vehicles, and security cameras all rely on a Wi-Fi network to operate. Wi-Fi-enabled technology allows for streamlined production. Not upgrading to new equipment could hold a business back from utilizing the latest advancements in the logistics industry. Additionally, if there are blind spots within an existing Wi-Fi network, adding access points (APs) to create more coverage in those areas prevents disruption in the workday.
Deciding what W-Fi features are most important
Wi-Fi access points have come a long way; choosing what features are most important to you will help narrow down the options. Grandstream’s GWN series offers both indoor and long-range weatherproof devices with a variety of key features such as:
- Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6 exclusive technology allows the access point to better serve dense network deployments.
- Market-leading Wi-Fi standards: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax standards, supporting past, present, and future Wi-Fi devices
- Greater performance for less money: Up to 512 concurrent devices, 300-meter coverage range, 1.77 or 3.5 Gbps aggregate dual-band throughput
- UL/DL OFDMA: Access points running on the 801.11ax standard perform better in dense environments and are designed to manage multiple Wi-Fi devices with varying bandwidth demands
- Beamforming technology: AP detects wireless clients and focuses signals towards them
- Multiple customized SSIDs: Up to 32 SSID channels with customized client configurations, captive portal, and bandwidth limits
- QoS standards: Prioritizes certain network traffic/devices so critical tasks don't compete for bandwidth. Can be customized based on deployment
There are other important features for a Wi-Fi deployment, and together they can deliver a network that is ideal for supporting the work devices, IoT devices, and facility management equipment that are found in a warehouse deployment.
Decide your device management style
Grandstream offers different management styles to fit the needs of any deployment. Whether the warehouse is relying on a service provider or has an in-house IT department, managing GWN access points can be customized to fit deployment needs. For smaller warehouses, devices in the GWN series come equipped with an embedded controller that can auto-discover and auto-provision any in-network GWN AP from the designated Access Point Provisioning Master, which also offers a centralized provisioning and management interface. This method can manage up to 50 local GWNs.
For larger deployment scenarios, GWN.Cloud is a FREE enterprise-grade management platform for an unlimited amount of Grandstream access points. Thanks to streamlined monitoring and maintenance, managing your network across multiple locations has never been easier. Secure networks can be deployed in seconds using our GWN.Cloud mobile app or the web browser interface, then later managed from the same interface. Keep an eye on the network’s performance with real-time monitoring, alerts, statistics, and reports that can be viewed using a web browser or the mobile application, then later managed from either interface. The monitoring capabilities are easy for anyone at any technical level to understand and use. If any problems arise in the middle of the night, the IT support technician can easily log on and troubleshoot without being onsite.
Typically deployed on a customer’s private network, GWN Manager offers a premise-based software controller for up to 3,000 Grandstream access points with all the same features as the GWN.Cloud. GWN Manager is an ideal choice for warehouses and logistics companies who have strict privacy policies and do not allow their data to be stored via a cloud solution.
Plan your deployment
Now that we’ve covered the types of devices and features needed, it’s time to plan the deployment. A warehouse that requires a wireless network for its Wi-Fi-enabled IoT equipment, laptops, and seamless roaming requirements needs to first look at the warehouse floor plan. To achieve the strongest signal coverage, marking out the areas where there is high network usage should be taken into consideration when building out the network infrastructure. Additional considerations should include marking off areas where high shelving may cause network interference, outdoor placements, automated vehicle paths, etc. By preparing this ahead of time, you can provide this information to the site surveyor to help them determine the placement of the access points and their antennas to create the best Wi-Fi coverage possible.
Creating a stable and reliable Wi-Fi network is crucial in the productivity and operations of any warehouse. Choosing the right equipment with the right features can be a determining factor in the success of the business. Grandstream’s GWN series of networking solutions was designed to make networking simple and scalable. Our GWN portfolio provides a diverse selection of access points and various management platforms that can be used to build a powerful Wi-Fi solution for any setting. The GWN series solutions can also be easily paired and managed with other Grandstream Wi-Fi-enabled products to create a complete solution.
This article was first published on Grandstream's blog.
You may also like: