We've all heard the saying, "Time is Money" and although as cliché a saying as it is, it's still true for every manufacturing business today.
Technology has increased demand and expectations from consumers, which has led to many manufacturers searching for new systems to improve their operations.
Enter the ERP system.
However, manufacturing businesses can't just buy an ERP system, install it and think everything will be rainbows and butterflies.
Your wireless network plays a pivotal role in determining whether your new system will actually work.
If you are planning on upgrading to an ERP system or have already done so and are experiencing some problems, here are 3 WLAN design considerations that will help.
Consider Your Environment
The manufacturing industry is one of the most challenging environments to create a reliable wireless network.
Everything from access point placement, antenna types, how to correctly aim your antennas, RF interference etc. is critical to achieving the results you need.
There's all kinds of obstacles and materials that make wifi planning difficult. The Wi-Fi engineering process is hard enough but these types of environments take a special set of skills and experience to make sure you're getting the performance and reliability you need to support things like ERP systems.
Consider Your Devices and Applications
Just like your environment, it's a fundamental requirement to understand the types and numbers of devices and applications that will need to be supported on your wireless network.
How does each type of device impact the network? What are their behavior profiles? Are your devices high-powered or low-powered?
Is your ERP system web-based? Are the applications going to use video or voice?
Will your devices and applications need the ability to roam (most likely but a question that's needs answered none the less).
There are many angles to properly optimizing your wireless network design for mobile devices, and each one is important to deploying your ERP system correctly the first time.
Consider the Current Capabilities of Your Wireless Infrastructure
This is one of the most critical components of successfully deploying a new ERP system, can your current Wi-Fi infrastructure support it?
Watch the Video: The Wi-Fi Minute: Why is Wi-Fi Planning So Complicated [Video]
For example, how will going from scanners pulling information on a local server to using various mobile devices using a web-based platform impact your network and your end-user's performance?
It's something that gets overlooked all the time. Your current system works great with minimal issues and then you upgrade and bam, nothing works and your productivity that was supposed to improve actually decreases.
In order to be successful you have to test and validate your current infrastructure to make sure it can properly support the newer system and it's accompanying devices and applications.
Some Final Thoughts
Utilizing new technology to increase productivity and efficiency is a great strategy, but only if it actually works.
It's easy to get distracted by the possibilities that technology has to offer and miss sight of what it takes to achieve the expected results.
Being reactive and not proactive is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to supporting a reliable wireless network.