Guidelines to Deploy Wireless Networks for AS/RS and Contribution of Fiber Optics Technology in It
Automated material handling (AMH) systems like Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS), Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) systems, etc are integral parts of industrial automation. Often such automated material handling units are controlled, monitored, optimized, and monitored remotely. Wireless networks and software-based controlling tools are used for remote operations of such material handling units. That is why wireless networks for AS/RS, AGVs, and other AMH systems are adopted across industries. No matter what type of material handling it is, unit loading-unloading, inventory management, conveyor systems, etc all are being automated at a larger scale. However, the on-field operation of certain units may hold security risks, hazards of accidents, etc. To prevent certain accidents, a wireless network for AS/RS, AGVs, and other AMH systems is adopted. This way, the operator can remain inside a cabin still operate the entire AMH unit remotely. However, to achieve such industrial operational freedom, automation units must be configured with monitoring and controlling software over wireless networks.
In such networks, the wireless connectivity between the software and automation units is accomplished over WLAN, Wi-Fi, etc. Such wireless networks may use fiber optics cables, Ethernet protocols, or hybrid networking (copper-fiber). However, the quality of software configuration with automation equipment over a wireless network is demanding. It requires, high bandwidth, security measures, data protection, and error-free operation, therefore, the wireless network deployed for the AMH system should serve all the requirements. To satisfy all the needs, fiber optics technology is used to generate a wireless network for AMH systems. Considering the benefits and potential of fiber optics technology, the needs like data security, risk prevention, etc can be done in these wireless networks.
This post discusses different guidelines to enhance the quality of the deployed wireless network for AS/RS and AMH systems. It also discusses how fiber optics technology helps in achieving the goals in a wireless network for AS/RS.
Tips to Enhance Performance of Wireless Network for AS/RS
The efficiency of the overall AMH system can be enhanced by implementing the following actions before and during the deployment of a wireless network for AS/RS.
Analyze Network Requirements:
- Analysis of operational requirements is essential before investing in a network. Since wireless networks are invisible and operate on the frequencies, the required bandwidth, data transmission rate, etc should be estimated. This analysis is crucial in order to prevent loss of data, delayed transmission, data traffic, cluster of data packets, etc. In the AS/RS systems, the delay in transmission can cause accidents, equipment damage, and even hazards to the operators. That is why critical analysis of network requirements must be performed.
Create a Network Layout and Strategize:
- Once the analysis of requirements is done, the strategic network layout must be created. This can include setting locations of all access points (APs), routers, control panels, monitoring equipment, etc. The strength of a signal from one AP to another AP should be considered to set distances between both locations. Also, the networks are created based on topologies, therefore, the strategic layout can also include a selection of the networking topology to be adopted.
Select an Appropriate Wireless Network:
- Once a strategic layout is made, consideration of the type of network is to be done. This may include a selection of WLAN networks of a specific bandwidth. The selected network should offer sufficient bandwidth, data transmission speed, signal coverage, etc.
Deploy Devices at Right Locations:
- The devices must be installed at the correct locations. Slight changes in the location of the devices like routers, antennas, etc can impact the performance of the network. Therefore, construction of the network should be done according to set strategic locations.
Configure the Network to Most Efficient Parameters:
- The parameters like bandwidth, switching potential, monitoring and control specifications, etc must be configured to requirements. Mapping out Wi-Fi spots, tracing frequency coverage, identifying loopholes in-network, the scope of data theft or third-party intrusion, etc should be checked and the network should be configured to prevent losses.
Invest in Fully-Manageable Network:
- The manageability of the networks is an essential factor. Since a wireless network for AS/RS is expected to offer remote access and control to the operator, the manageability of the network is crucial. To achieve manageability, the managed network switches, smart control panels, and software monitoring and control tools can be adopted.
Consider Environmental Conditions:
- Since AMHs like AS/RS are exposed to harsh industrial environments. Moisture, temperature fluctuations, and noise are a few factors that interrupt the frequencies. Also, other frequencies of radio signals and electromagnetic signals interrupt the data transmission. These factors are essential to be considered in order to prevent weakened signal strength and transmission frequency.
Contribution of Fiber Optics Technology in Wireless Network for AS/RS
Fiber optics technology has taken over industries on a wide scale. The wireless network for AS/RS and AGV systems is no exception to it. The contribution and potential of fiber optics technology in an automated wireless network for AS/RS are listed below.
High Bandwidth and Transmission Speed:
- Fiber optics technology can generate a high bandwidth for transmission. Fiber optic modems, routers, etc are the devices that can be used to generate a high-frequency WLAN or Wi-Fi network in wireless networks. This enhances the transmission capabilities of the network. A broadband network deployed over fiber optics can offer a transmission rate of nearly 940 megabits per second. Due to such a high data transmission rate, a time lag reduction can be achieved which eventually results in the timely delivery of data packets and operation of AMH equipment.
- Fiber optics technology and its respective devices have evolved in various aspects. The Devices like fiber-optic switches, converters, transceivers, modems, and micro-modems, can be managed to specific parameters. These fiber optics-based devices offer manageability to the networks. For example: Implementing managed network switches in the WLAN setup can control the direction and time of transmission. Similarly, the router’s frequency and Wi-Fi range can be managed.
- Security is a crucial factor when it comes to the automation of any industrial system. Any third-party intrusion can cause an interruption in operation, malfunction of automation systems, etc if wrong control instructions are given. That is why the wireless network for AS/RS should only be accessible to trusted authorities. The fiber optics network setups can be integrated with authentication software for efficient results. The fiber-based WLAN offers tree-spanning, link authentication, port mirroring, auto-negotiation, etc. All the access points (APs) can be secured using the authentication protocols of fiber-based WLAN.
Immunity to EMI/RFI and Noise:
- Fiber optics technology is immune to electromagnetic and radio frequencies. Therefore, the fiber optic WLAN connections do not suffer an interruption of EMI/RFI frequencies. Similarly, the external noise does not impact signal transmission between the fiber optic devices integrated into a WLAN.
- The fiber optics technology offers immense flexibility and freedom to manage networking parameters. Thus, any changes in parameters can be controlled and scaled. Managed switches, fiber optic converters, transmitters, receivers, routers, etc can be scaled for performance parameters. This way, the frequency testing, checking for signal intensity, checking the direction of data transmission, etc can be done by using monitoring software. Owing to this benefit of a fiber optics-based network, the operator can control each parameter of AS/RS systems. The operation of storage units, loading-unloading equipment, inventory circulation, etc can be remotely controlled by the operator over a fiber-based WLAN.
Similarly, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), warehouse management, conveyor systems, etc can be automated over wireless networks by integrating it with smart electronics and fiber-based WLAN.
However, when it comes to deploying a wireless network for AS/RS systems, the choice of equipment and its quality can directly impact the performance of the network. Eventually, the operation of AS/RS systems may be impacted. Therefore, the selection of equipment plays an important role as the selection of the network does.
Automated material handling (AMH) systems like AS/RS, AGVs, etc are automated over wireless networks. Different guidelines to enhance the deployment of a wireless network for AMH systems are discussed in this white paper. Further, the contribution of fiber optics technology in generating a high-efficiency wireless network for AS/RS, AVGs, etc is discussed. The document focuses on the need to choose the right equipment for creating a robust network. VERSITRON provides media converters, network switches, fiber optic modems, and other devices needed to build productive and robust wireless networks for industrial automation. To gain more information about devices required for building fiber-based WLAN for AMH systems, please feel free to contact us.