When it comes to challenging environments, warehouse Wi-Fi makes it to the top of the list. Each warehouse is a different environment housing different types of inventory which affect how the RF propagates. François speaks about his experience designing for warehouses.

Warehouse Wi-Fi

François has done a few warehouse designs and deployments. He is going to share his personal experiences when approaching warehouse Wi-Fi. Below are some of the bullet point topics we talk about. If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to add to the show please leave a comment below.

Safety

  • Always remember that you are working in someone else’s working space (true for any Wi-Fi, especially true for warehouses)
  • Skyjack use
  • Prep work about safety:
    • Ask the customer if any safety training are required
    • Am I going to need boots, safety glasses, hard hat, safety jacket
    • If you are going to drive a skyjack, do I need a licence for it? Do I have a licence for it? If yes, I will also need a harness
  • Once on site:
    • Always look around
    • Walk in the walking area whenever you can
    • Always give a visual to the lift truck drivers
    • Wear your safety equipment
    • Coordinate with the supervision to survey busy areas when they are less busy. (Especially the loading stations)
    • If you are handling your survey equipment for an AP-on-a-stick, be careful with it as well

Design

  • Structure of the building
  • Ceiling height (Can vary from 1 warehouse to another). This is greatly going to affect your design
  • What is inside the warehouse? Is is Milk, Wine or is it wood, metal?
  • How high are the racks? Do I have different type of racks? What are their attenuation? How do you test the attenuation?
  • How are the employee using the Wi-Fi devices? Let’s talk about how advanced those scanner guns are 😉
  • Usually 1 section with offices (on the ground floor or on 2 floors) and the rest is warehouse.
    • Separate it in your design. They don’t have the same requirements (not the same devices, not the same applications, not the same density, not the same environment)
    • Will I need different SSIDs?
  • How do I deal with offices inside the warehouse?
  • AP locations and mounting options (Am I going to mount the AP on the wall, on the ceiling)
  • Watch out for obstructions objects in the ceiling
  • Be precise with antenna installation (angle, location, orientation) – Give out good instructions to the installers
  • Do I need to lower the antenna from the ceiling?
  • What devices do I have in the warehouse? What type of security can I use?

Survey

  • Make sure you have proper floorpans (updated).
  • If your floor plans are empty, find elements which are going to help you to find out where you are (doors, docking area…)
  • Measure distances (to the wall, to the ceiling, to the beam…)
  • Laser measure distance tool
  • Be nice with the employees (remember, you are the intruder) – They will be nice with you and you will have a much better time.
  • If you need to take measurements with a SkyJack, make sure you can lift the skyjack from the ground.
  • Use pylon cones for extra safety
  • Your battery life is going to be your limitation. Organize your time so you do something else while the battery charges. (break, documentation…)
  • Mark the AP location with something you can see from the floor. (Pink plastic tape, While board,,,)

Prep Work

  • Prepare the equipment
  • Do I have my APs?
  • Are my APs configured?
  • Do I have my antennas? Do I have the right antennas?
  • Specific equipment for warehouse: Skyjack, High Ceiling pole, external antenna, hard hat, safety jacket, harness + duck tape and tire ups (you never know)
  • Prepare the access (schedule your survey with the customer). Warehouses are usually open 24/7, 7 day a week. It makes it easier!
  • Will I need a sky jack? Can I borrow one from the customer? Do I need to rent one out? Do you have to be certified to use it? Do you need training?

BadFi in Warehouses

AP on top of the ceiling

AP missing an antenna

AP antenna disconnected

AP is hidden

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About the Author
Wireless Network Engineer and Owner at SemFio Networks. CWNE #180. Living in London ON Canada, born and raised in Dijon, France.

6 comments on CTS 077: Warehouse Wi-Fi

  1. Vasco says:

    Nice just a few extra notes:
    Safety
    – listen carefully. Sometimes we’ll hear the lift trucks before we see them.

    Survey
    – if floorplan is empty; pillars are the best reference points

    Design
    – regarding scanner guns. when in doubt; get the fcc id and check the reports

  2. Thank you Vasco! Very good points. Hopefully there are pillars on the floorplan as well 😉

    To add to your comment, here is where FCC reports can be checked: https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid

  3. deindoop says:

    Thank you all for providing me with tons of knowledge everyday, just awesome. I do have a question about signing up for wifitraining.com. I entered my details on the site, but I didn’t received an activation e-mail, also with 2 different mail addresses. I send an e-mail to Wifitraining.com but so far no news. I wondered if anyone else had the same issue. Thanks!

    1. François Vergès says:

      Hi there,

      It should work. Contact them on Twitter, you’ll be more successful reaching out to the owner Chris: https://twitter.com/wifitraining.

      Cheers,

      François

      1. deindoop says:

        Thx Francois, got in contact via Twitter and now have access!

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