Companies are struggling with how to cost-effectively extend Wi-Fi coverage to parts of their work areas that are typically hard to reach, like warehouses and yards. Network connected devices like scanners or tablets can increase employee efficiency and reduce inventory errors, but most warehouses and yards are full of metal, which creates interference and reduces Wi-Fi system reliability. Nothing is more frustrating than losing connectivity and data in the middle of fulfilling a 100-line order.
Extending Wi-Fi into a warehouse or across a yard using traditional systems is difficult since access points must be added throughout the facility and across the yard. Companies need to then provide power and access to the network via ethernet cable—a wiring nightmare!
Mesh Wi-Fi has been used by the military for years to extend wireless networks without having to run ethernet cables. Mesh access points communicate via Wi-Fi at speeds that can keep up with wired options and tie all your networked devices together. Each access point only requires power and work best if there is line-of-sight to another mesh device.
Up until recently, Mesh devices were expensive and not widely available. Thankfully, Cisco, TP-Link, Ubiquiti, Dlink, Google, Asus, Rukus, and Juniper now make affordable, industrial grade mesh Wi-Fi access points. Here is a good article to get you started on what each brand offers.
Taking advantage of this technology is easy:
- Calculate the number of square feet of coverage needed
- Get a diagram of your facility
- Estimate square footage
- Confirm access to power throughout
- Pick a company and order a base station plus access points
- Divide estimated square footage by coverage provided by access points
- Draw a rough diagram of where you think the access points would best be installed
- Choose how many indoor and outdoor access points are needed
- Install based on the instructions provided by the company
- All manufacturers have online or smart phone based applications that will walk you through the installation process
Never put up with bad Wi-Fi connectivity again!
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