Life in the warehouse moves fast: dozens of people operating large equipment linked by a multitude of devices in a choreographed hum that depends on good connectivity. Now imagine that dance being interrupted by frozen scanners dropped calls, and loss of access to key infrastructure – all because of warehouse Wi-Fi problems.
Keeping everything connected in a huge space -sometimes tens of thousands of square feet- is a big challenge. Something as simple as access point positioning can become a complicated and dangerous venture in a building with 40-foot high ceilings. Before you climb up into the rafters, let’s take a look at common causes for Wi-Fi problems and what you can do about them.
Causes of Warehouse Wi-Fi Problems
If you’re experiencing less-than-stellar Wi-Fi connectivity in your warehouse, consider these common offenders:
Unexpected Network Congestion
Traffic on your network will ebb and flow, but sometimes there’s a surge in congestion caused by all those personal (and business) devices accessing your network. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture means more personal mobile devices on the network causing speeds to lag. Consider limiting devices or splitting off a guest network from the main business network.
Blocked Signals & APs
Warehouses are typically made of concrete and steel and house large, dense objects that are known signal blockers – shelving and pallets for example. Positioning your APs smartly can help. Or, the APs themselves can be an issue if they’re a mix-and-match of makes and models or if they’re outdated. Think about upgrading your APs to match your needs.
Many warehouses have conveyer systems or other equipment that cause electromagnetic interference on your network. If you’ve got an AP positioned near equipment like this you will have to fight back with additional coverage.
Simple DIY Fixes For Better Wi-Fi In Your Warehouse
Sometimes issues can be fixed with a few adjustments. Try these quick things to see if your Wi-Fi connection improves:
- Limit or ban the personal devices on your network
- Consider a mesh AP for trouble areas
- Turn your Wi-Fi power setting up to meet demand
- Create a temporary hot spot
These can provide temporary relief, but they’re likely just a band-aid to cover underlying problems of aging equipment or poor network design. If that’s the case, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Building Better Warehouse Wi-Fi
We recommend working with an end-to-end IT solutions provider who can plan, design, and deploy a network that better supports your warehouse needs.
The network planning phase typically involves conducting interviews (to gather data from the people using the network) and site surveys (to gather data from the network itself).
A Predictive Site Survey provides you with a snapshot of your current coverage (including gaps) as well as a look at what your network should look like with ideal coverage. It uses predictive modeling to provide an educated guess upon which to base your network design.
A Predictive Site Survey can help determine the need for additional equipment (such as APs) or upgrades on devices like tablets or scanners. It will also highlight areas of congestion, as we mentioned above by showing you what’s coming over your APs and where the connections are dropping off or being switched.
Design and Implementation
Your network will be designed around user data and the results of your predictive site survey. Once a plan is developed and equipment is purchased, your IT partners can implement the upgrades and deploy. This is a great time for training end-users so they can get comfortable with any new equipment or network settings.
After your network has been installed, your IT vendor can perform heat mapping to confirm proper coverage and make sure that the network is working as it was designed. This will also be a time for troubleshooting any issues and making adjustments for better performance.
Finally, your IT partner should provide regular network check-ups to confirm that your goals are being met. They can come on-site or remote in to troubleshoot and fix any issues.
Your warehouse is a busy hive that moves quickly – don’t get slowed down by something as simple to fix as bad Wi-Fi. Contact us to learn more about predictive site surveys, heat-mapping and other solutions that can fix your Wi-Fi problems for good.