Conducting a wireless site survey for a warehouse is the first and most important step if you’re planning a new wireless network or trying to fix issues with an existing network. A wireless site survey takes the questions and guessing out of planning or fixing your wireless network and creates a clear plan for resolution by providing solid data to act upon. Warehouses face especially unique challenges in terms of wireless signal propagation due to the constant-changes in the physical environment due to the movement of inventory and network connected devices within the facility. The massive scale of many warehouses can also contribute to difficulties in wireless network planning that can only be accurately addressed with a wireless site survey.
A warehouse wireless site survey will provide the best recommendations for:
- Access point antenna model
- Quantity of access points
- Placement of access points
- Power setting configurations
- Roaming configurations
- Channel setting configurations
- Any other configurations that could help optimize the wireless network.
A warehouse wireless site survey report provides a solid plan that can be used by any IT team or cabling team to set up the network you need without any unexpected post-install surprises. The cost of a warehouse wireless site survey will depend on the facility size but should not be seen as preventative. The small investment into a wireless site survey can help offset exponentially higher costs required to fix a network that was set up improperly originally. Seems like a no-brainer but if you’re a warehouse IT manager and still need to be convinced, here are 6 benefits of a wireless site survey for a warehouse:
1. Seamless roaming
Staff working on warehouse floors are constantly moving around as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. The devices that the staff use such as handheld scanners, laptops and phones, need consistent, uninterrupted access to the wireless network. Warehouses where inadequate access points were installed, or installed in incorrect locations, or simply were not configured properly can cause many devices to struggle to roam seamlessly. This can cause very high latency and high airtime utilization and create performance issues with the connected devices such as slow loading applications, packet-loss, and complete network drops. Any such network issues lead to lost productivity and ultimately lost revenues. These issues can be prevented if a wireless network site survey is conducted to create a plan for a near-perfect network design.
2. Reliable connection
One of the most frustrating network issues one can experience is a device completely disconnecting from a wireless network. This type of issue can usually be linked to a physical problem such as a dead-zone due to inadequate access point placement or changes to the physical environment that can decrease the quality of the performance of the wireless network. Physical issues are exacerbated in warehouse environments because of metal shelving units, high ceilings, extreme temperature conditions, and fluctuating inventory – all of which have their own unique impact on the ability of the wireless network signal to spread through the warehouse. A wireless site survey for a warehouse will help plan around these physical issues as well as address any configuration setting requirements.
3. Improved latency
A wireless site survey for a warehouse can also help improve latency for devices connected to your network. Real time tracking, VoIP, or other latency sensitive applications can experience severely impacted performance due to high response times and dropped packets. The wireless network site survey will address both of these elements and create an individual plan for every access point connected to your network. QoS and other settings are adjusted to give particular devices priority when transferring data with access points on your network. Low latency and low packet loss means increased productivity and less time spent waiting around for devices to work properly.
4. Future proof your network
The first step in planning a wireless site survey for a warehouse is having a discovery meeting with the network engineer that will be conducting the survey. During the discovery meeting, also known as a requirements meeting, the engineer will learn about the problems plaguing your current network and the goals for your future network. Questions will focus on the types of devices connected to your network, their capabilities, what type of network activity is typical as part of normal operations, the types of materials you store in the warehouse, and any plans for growth in the near future.
The collected information will serve as the foundation for the planning, assessment, and/or troubleshooting of the wireless network. Ultimately, using the best wireless site survey software will assist the engineer to accurately define metrics of success when conducting the survey. The site survey report created by the network engineer will layout the guidelines for AP quantities, placement, and configuration in order to meet the needs of your warehouse.
5. Save money on your IT
Spending money to set up a WiFi network in a warehouse without a wireless site survey will almost guarantee that you’ll be spending more money in the future to fix any issues that arise. Take a look at some costs of the recommended wireless equipment Ruckus Wireless ZoneFlex R710 Investing in a wireless site survey prior to any network installation will help avoid any issues that come up because of improper planning. The cost of a wireless site survey for a warehouse may seem high at first but when compared to costs of continuous troubleshooting of the network, it’s a no brainer that paying for a wireless site survey makes financial sense.
With costs of warehouse enterprise grade APs ranging from 1K to 4K, the sheer size of a warehouse, and the extreme and dynamic environment, eyeballing the number of APs can be extremely costly. Whether you installed too many or too few APs, the cost of unnecessary or incorrect hardware, and the cost of the lost productivity and troubleshooting can rapidly exceed the cost of a wireless site survey.
6. Create a solid plan for your installation
The greatest benefit of a wireless site survey for a warehouse is that you’ll have a step-by-step plan on how to set up your wireless network including hardware quantities, hardware placement and internal configurations. The wireless site survey report will take into account the types of products you store in your warehouse and how those materials will impact your wireless signal. Even if your warehouse is empty during the survey. After receiving the report and reviewing it with your site survey provider, you’ll be able to hand off an installation and configuration plan to your in-house team or any third party. Hand-holding during the installation won’t be necessary and any guess-work is eliminated.
Site Surveys For Warehouses Of All Sizes
The pros of a wireless site survey for a warehouse far outweigh the cons – most of which are related to the time and costs involved. Once a wireless site survey is completed and the ensuing installation and configurations are implemented as per the survey results, chances are your wireless network will run smoother than ever before with no daily troubleshooting and dropped connections. Contact the team and Made By WiFi to set up a wireless site survey for your warehouse.