As we move into the third decade of the new millennium, warehouses need to modernize in order to keep up with new industry demands and pressures to reduce costs while increasing productivity. That includes making sure that your wireless networking infrastructure can keep up with increasing demand for bandwidth and support for new types of mobile devices.
If your WiFi network is more than a few years old, it’s possible that you are due for an upgrade. If your warehouse is experiencing faster than expected growth, it may even be time for an entirely new network. With new mobile computers and more advanced networking options emerging, engaging a technology partner or consultant can more effectively evaluate your options and ensure your network is performing optimally. You can set your operations up for success by taking these considerations into account in 2020 and beyond.
One of the most significant trends in warehouse mobility has been the advent of new computers and operating systems in industrial applications. More and more organizations are migrating from older Windows-based solutions to Android-based mobile computers ad scanner. These new devices affect wireless network performance differently than older devices.
Many mobile devices may not be intrinsically supported on your existing wireless network. New infrastructure may need to be put in place to handle Android-based devices. There is also a new flavor of WiFi (WiFi 6) available that can pose some support issues.
WiFi 6 can provide a number of improvements when it comes to data traffic. In addition to nearly doubling the maximum network speed, WiFi 6 also includes new features to help manage greater network traffic, improved security and greater battery life. However, your hardware may need upgraded to support the new standard and take advantage of those benefits.
If you aren’t sure about support conflicts between new devices and your existing network, or you feel you may need to upgrade to improve speed and performance, an experienced wireless consultant can help sort out exactly what you need via a wireless site survey. A wireless site survey can help you plan for which hardware devices you need for your warehouse operation to be successful—including access points, routers, and mobile devices.
Embrace Analytics and Automation
In addition to new mobile and wireless equipment, there are other demands on the wireless infrastructure. What is being referred to as the NetOps 2.0 Mindset brings network automation and analytics together to revamp traditional network operations.
In addition to traditional mobile computers, the wireless warehouse network will eventually need to support material handling automation, robotics systems, location-based solutions, the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, RFID systems, and other technology. These complex systems rely on a mix of different wireless technology, and automation and analytics will be required to effectively manage them.
In a recent survey, half of executives at large enterprises said the IoT will have a significant impact on their business within three years. By leveraging automation and artificial intelligence (AI), IT professionals can be freed from managing the network and can focus on more strategic IT initiatives such as building the most effective network to support all the enterprise devices.
5G: The Next Generation of Wireless Connectivity
Many warehouse operations are looking to the future and how their warehouses may be connected in the coming years. Most warehouses already use a mix of WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and cellular technology. This mix of solutions has gotten more challenging to manage and coordinate, leading to interference issues and straining IT resources.
Warehouse automation systems, robotics, IoT, WiFi, and Bluetooth are all a part of the modern warehouse and need to be managed so they don’t interfere with one another. As more devices join the network and more applications rely on wireless connectivity, warehouse operators are looking for a more reliable solution that can provide both secure and reliable service, as well as higher data bandwidth.
The answer may be emerging 5G networking solutions. Using 5G, warehouses can potentially support or enhance all of these standards and applications as they modernize over the next several years. 5G can provide both greater bandwidth and improved wireless performance, and could provide a more seamless wireless for warehouses that need to support IoT and traditional inventory tracking systems, for example.
The technology may not be a fit for every operation, and integrating various wireless technologies will require the type of expertise that an experienced technology partner like Peak Technologies can provide.
The Peak Technologies team includes industry experts that are here to help you you make the right decisions when it comes to updating or replacing your warehouse wireless infrastructure. Our technicians and consultants can also help you create a future-ready warehouse that can support new applications, new devices, and more demanding applications in the coming years.
Contact Peak Technologies today and learn how to prepare for 2020 and beyond.