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Wireless Networks (WLAN) - The Backbone of Real Time Logistics Solutions

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article image Wireless Networks (WLAN)

Just like mobile phone networks, wireless LANs help connect users around the world, providing a secure and reliable link between users' IT systems and the shop floor.  

The design and configuration of a wireless network is critical in providing reliable and secure performance in any real time logistics application.  

At Dematic , they begin by looking at user’s current IT systems infrastructure, including any networks that are in place and the physical environment in which the RTL solution is to operate. 

They also advise users on network architecture, the choice of middleware if required, implementing Voice over IP (VoIP) and a range of security measures including the use of secure servers, sensors, WIPS (wireless intrusion prevention systems) and PCI-compliance.

Site surveys are conducted to identify constraints in industrial environment. Bays of racking, stacks of containers, types of walls, number of people the system needs to support and the size of the area to be covered are some of the factors that are taken into consideration.

Dematic offers a comprehensive range of WLANs, from Narrowband to Spread Spectrum.

The majority of wireless networks in supply chain applications utilise Spread Spectrum (802.11 a/b/g/n), operating in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band.  

Spread Spectrum provides high data transmission rates, ranging from 11 Mbps up to 54 Mbps, making it possible to integrate any Wi-Fi enabled wireless mobile data computing devices. These devices can be laptops, mobile data computers or RF terminals and voice-directed computers. While offering lower data transmission rates, Narrow Band (450/900 MHz) may provide superior performance and coverage in some instances. 

The evolution of digital data communications networks like 3G also brings new opportunities for supply chain applications, making true enterprise-wide wireless mobility solutions a reality. 

Benefits of Wireless Network:

  • Brings the power of the LAN and IT systems to mobile workforce
  • Removes paper, facilitating paperless warehousing 
  • Accurate data collection and transfer 
  • Supports a wide range of RTL 
  • Wi-Fi-enabled technologies 
  • Eliminates time and labour intensive repetitive tasks 
  • Enhances worker productivity 
  • Optimises equipment and resource utilisation 
  • Facilitates real time data transfer and supply chain management

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