connectivity matters
warehouse automation connectivity August 31, 2021  |  Written by

The Dilemma of Warehouse Automation

When looking into providing warehouses with network coverage, oftentimes, there are multiple key issues most network providers are concerned with. The first issue is the racks of shelving and equipment as well as hallways creating corridors that block wireless connectivity. Frequently, warehouse shelving racks are constructed with metal and filled up with products made or partially made with metal. When planning a network, network designers assume the worst case so that portions of the network will not experience outages. By assuming the worst case, each rack would be filled with boxes or equipment and would completely block wireless signal, similar to a metal wall. These metal corridors are also notorious for causing multipath reflections and due to the constant flux of the product storage, highly unpredictable.

The second issue is mobility, as every warehouse has multiple pieces of mobile equipment. Providing coverage to workers on mobile equipment or the mobile equipment itself requires the ability to roam in and out of cell sizes very quickly. As discussed previously in the first problem, the metal shelving blockages can make this extremely difficult. This quick change in connectivity is constantly happening as the mobile equipment is always moving in and out of various corridors. The need for overlapping and cells and the ability to stay connected at all times is a constantly growing need, as devices and tools used in warehouses are getting smarter and more precise.

This extract from a whitepaper explores the challenges of warehouse connectivity and compares a standard traditional Wi-Fi network to a Rajant Kinetic Mesh® network in terms of coverage, capability and stability specifically in a warehouse environment.

What is Kinetic Mesh?

Rajant wireless mesh networks are not traditional networks. We call our networks Kinetic Mesh networks, and they are uniquely designed for environments and applications where client devices and even the network itself are in a state of constant change and motion. Rajant Kinetic Mesh networks are built around superior reliability and security. To achieve these goals, Rajant utilizes a multi-frequency, multi-peer mesh connection to give every node in the network the ability to talk to each other using multiple radios simultaneously. Each node, or BreadCrumb®, acts as a smart wireless device, maintaining connections to every other BreadCrumb that can be connected wirelessly or wired. This web of connections gives Rajant unparalleled reliability, ensuring that packets will always have a path home in even the toughest environments.

Coverage differences

There are a couple of factors that give Rajant BreadCrumbs an advantage on radiation cell sizes when compared to traditional Wi-Fi. The first of these factors is the effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP). Rajant BreadCrumbs utilize a more powerful EIRP than traditional Wi-Fi. This means each radio card has more power out, giving each radio greater range. Rajant radios have a max transmit power of 28dBm. Understanding that adding 3dBm doubles transmit power out, in comparison to a Wi-Fi product with a max transmit power level of 22dBm, there is a clear difference in the power levels.

The standard antennas utilized by Rajant are yet another reason that Rajant can provide greater coverage. Rajant standard antennas are 5dBi for 2.4 and 6dBi for 5.8. Compare this to a traditional integrated antenna in standard Wi-Fi access points of 3-4dBi. This 1-3dBi in antenna gain is more effective than raising the transmitted power out in gaining range and still maintaining the highest modulation speeds. In addition, Rajant antennas are standalone for the radio, this allows for greater versatility, separation, and the potential to change the antennas to fit any scenario. With most traditional Wi-Fi APs, the antennas are…
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