Hey guys! In today’s video, we’re gonna go over how to perform a wireless site survey in a warehouse logistics environment. I’m also gonna talk about how do you set up the Cisco Meraki networking warehouse environments, switches, and access points.
To see the full video, please see it below or go to my channel innovative digital group.
This video is Richard and Moll out in Dubai. I know you guys are asking me a couple of questions about WMS Warehouse Management Setup for a wireless environment.
So all my Flipboard, hopefully, you can see these guys! Let’s say this is a two hundred thousand square foot warehouse. I think yours is about 180 thousand square foot warehouse, so over here you have your office area. So let’s say your MDF is located in this area. So obviously you probably have one Meraki or Cisco MS Switch.
So, you have branches that come over here for your office users. Maybe you have 48 ports switch. Now, what you want to do, you can use this main switch out in the warehouse. I always like to go with redundant switches, maybe two switches. Right now, we’re actually using three switches throughout this whole warehouse. I’ll give you an example for people who are new to designing warehouse management systems wireless APs soon and what I used to see because of an IT person’s budget or a company’s budget. This is what they do. They have one switch here then they have an access point, some links here, some links. These are copper lines cat6.
So, does anyone see the problem with this? What happens here is and then you got one fiber link here. Now, how many points of failure do you have here? I see a bunch, this fiber link goes down. What happens to all of these access points? So, all of these access points go down. So, all of your users, your RF scanners, everything that is connected to these access points they go down. So you have a bunch of people that are getting anywhere paid, anywhere from let’s say $15 an hour, $25 an hour. They all go home. So, basically you’re losing a lot of money in a single day.
Another part here is, you have no we’re done switches. This switch goes down. All of these APs in this area are down again. So, let’s just go back to what I was doing before. The original drawing, so you have your MDF here. I would typically look at putting a switch here, maybe a switch here and a switch here. Then, I would have access points throughout the building. Now, the amount of access points really depends on how you want to implement your warehouse. Is there voice involved or do a voice involved or is a combination of both; Is it running off a 2.4 gigahertz or running off a 5. So, there’s a lot of factors to consider because with 2.4 sure you can get a lot more coverage but just less bandwidth but again 2.4 is very crowded and congested.
When I’m setting up my systems. I always recommend 5 separate bills and less noise more channels to use. Back to designing this. I’m gonna have one, two, three switches and then I’m also going to utilize this for a switch. What I typically do is have this kind of set up. So, I’ve got one copper line going here cut 6. This one would come along here, maybe this gonna go over here. It’s a little messy but if you see what I’m doing here. I’m giving multiple points of failure or redundancy within this network. So let’s say if this switch goes down then at least that’s what you still up and it’s serving let’s say this side of the warehouse and all of my users here can still get access and even if you had your DB or your power of your antenna, your access points only transmitting at a certain level of power. We couldn’t easily boost this based on your site survey. If you did your site survey at 25 milliwatts or 50 milliwatts or 50% of the power. Right now, you’re giving coverage like this. If this AP goes down what we can do is we can boost this to 75 billion or a hundred to compensate for the lost coverage that this is getting. So we need to boost this access point. This access point to cover for the downfall of this, we can say “Hey AP you’re going from 25 let’s boost you up to 75” then your coverage might have looked like this but since we boost it, maybe it’s gonna look like that.
For your switches that are in the warehouse. What I’ve seen some people do we’re gonna change the color. They would do this fiber. Now, what happens with this link gets cut. These are all points of failure. Everything goes down, so easy a solution if you don’t have enough SFP ports on your main switch you get a distribution switch that couldn’t allow. Usually, most switches are already gonna have like two SFP ports. I wouldn’t recommend connecting copper directly into your switches. Switches are meant to be carrying a lot of traffic so you want to have a distribution switch so at least the model if you’re looking for a Meraki distribution switch. It’s like MS 425416 they could handle all 10 gigs. You gonna have all your fiber links going straight into the distribution switch.
Now, we’ll talk about the access point set up. Just an overview of fiber cabling and what to do redundancy. So MDF here. What I would do for access points. When I’m doing my site survey I like to do it at five and 2.4 just kinds of get heat maps to show that “Hey!if you’re doing 2.4 this is what your heat maps would look like and if you do it on 5, this is what it’s gonna look like”. So, on your site survey always perform it at 50%. I never perform your site survey at 100 because if stuff changes in the warehouse on you’re getting minus 78 or minus 75 our SSI here like this. Something changes within this area or in this aisle. That 75 becomes minus 100. Pretty much no signal. The reason why you do your site survey at 50% is just to compensate for unknown factors or and I just as a fail-safe.
So access point wireless, this is your typical warehouse I like to have everything in a redundancy. You might have an access point here. We’ll say you needed to cover these areas. What I like to do is if there’s no AP here. I would like to put one right here. Just so you have kind of like a line of sight but then you’d also get coverage from here. Some contractors that we use for cabling actually misplace this access point and actually have it over here but no that makes a big difference because the line of sight is going to the aisle which is wrong. I want this access point right here just to cover here and also here and here.
Another thing that I get a lot of questions is too many access points. Bad kind of yes and no if you’re standing with your RF scanner or your client device and you see way too many access points that could be one of two things. Too many APs on that area or many virtual SSID. So, in your controller, you set up guest VLAN wifi corporate wifi, wifi office users, wifi RF so you might see just way too many virtual channels and that will create and cause a lot of co-channel interference within itself and I see that firsthand in many many times. You have like 10 SSID on 1 AP and that just all broadcasting. You also have to look at how the backend is handled and configured. The VLANS on your firewalls, your MX or your Cisco firewall ow whatever firewall that you’re using.
Back to the access points. This is how I would have it typically set up but like I mentioned always get a site survey because that is like your bible, your certification in event that you need to go to the vendor. The vendors gonna ask you. Let’s say, you’re having problems with roaming, you’re having a lot of drops, you could go to the vendor and say, I’m having their issues. The first thing probably going to ask you is “Let me see your site survey” and the reason why they want to see the site survey is that they wanna know if you actually properly designed it. You had a live technician or engineer go there and kind of put their blessing on it. Their stamp of approval. I’ve seen too many scenarios where people just put up access points and that just causes more problems than anything. You can have a lot of access points in a warehouse but it just really depends on how you design everything in your post-assessment.
If you design it incorrectly and you’re going a 100 and you’re letting your controller do everything then that might be an issue. So, Richard and Moll hope you got a lot of insight into this. So send me an email and guys for YouTube guys who are watching this any questions comment below like the channel and I’ll see you next time!
Wireless site survey for warehouse management systems and logistics companies. If you have a new implementation and require any assistance with a wireless site survey or wms in Toronto please give us a call.