Connectivity Issues at Open Warehouse Facility

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Connectivity Issues at Open Warehouse Facility

So I've recently implemented a wireless solution out at an open warehouse facility for a client. Another vendor has come through and replaced the wireless adapters that the client themselves use for their equipment, and we have run into a litany of issues. The biggest problem being these wireless adapters are flooding the access points with constant association/disassociation and not holding steady. Often the adapters will get stuck and need to be reset and this is a lengthy process for the client. Their hope was the Meraki refresh would resolve these issues, as they have had them in the past, but alas no bite. 


I'm thinking this is more an issue of everything being on 2.4Ghz and causing immense amounts of interference, but I wanted to see what kind of feedback the community is willing to offer. For background, this facility is a large open warehouse with lots of active machinery as well as a giant power crane that moves along the top of the facility for heavy lifting. 


Where would I start to even troubleshoot this? Not that I haven't begun, but nothing is sticking out to me. 

Getting noticed

Are the clients that are having the problems moving around at all (like a tablet or something for inventory tracking) or stationary (like a workstation of some kind)? If they are moving around, do you have layer 3 roaming turned on or off? Also, is there no option for using 5Ghz?

Hey dlowery, the clients are stationary, there are computers attached to the machinery pushing/pulling commands to it. 


They are simply in bridge mode, I do no have Layer 3 roaming on any of the SSIDs'.


At the moment, that is what I'm trying to get the client and vendor to move forward with: shifting equipment to 5G. The wireless adapters are 802.11n capable, they simply chose to use 802.11b/g for whatever reason. There's a good 60-70 clients connected through 2.4 and that is most likely the culprit. 


Getting noticed

60-70 clients across how many AP's? Yeah it looks like 2.4 might be your problem, you might be able to mess with radio settings, but that's beyond my knowledge. Take a look under RF spectrum also, and see what your average channel usage looks like, this should be able to confirm your suspicions about 2.4 Ghz being the problem.

On a single AP there are that many clients. They choose vigilantly to associate to that one although there are at least 4-5 other units in the same vicinity. 

Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

how high are you ceilings. what AP and antenna is used? did you confirm good signal strenght at the ground?

A model citizen

Are "Auto channel" and "Client balancing" enabled? Also @dlowery mentioned how does the channel utilization in the area look? 

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30 feet high. 42MR with Omni Antenna. Signal strength is fine on both 2.4 and 5, we did a post wireless survey for certainty. 


Client balancing and Auto Channels haven't been disabled, so they are still both on.


Spectrum utilization was up to 50-70 percent for the 2.4 until I lowered the power settings and increased minimum bitrate from 1 Mbps to 18 Mbps. Now it sits at a steady 25-40 percent. 


This may be a client side issue in that they devices will try to reassociate but using a different port. Perhaps WPA2 does not play nice when using the same criteria from an AP but with a different port? Also noticed flapping between some of the APs'. I know some flapping is to be expected when roaming but this amount seems a bit excessive. 

I would say if the client presess to use older 802.11 devices then you are possibly facing a losing battle, I am guessing the warehouse has sheet metal walls in which case the wireless signal is going to bounce around like crazy.


I have seen the exact same problem with installing wireless into portacoms, it just simply doesn't work reliably. 

I've convinced him to try it on a few, and so far those clients are disassociating and associating as much as their 2.4Ghz counterparts. So that's definitely something in the work. 

Kind of a big deal

Did you check the minimum bitrate as well? Sometimes they will try to hold on to an AP if the bitrate is low enough. Try raising it to like 18.


Yea, I ended up lowering and channel utilization went down on some of the WAPs and ended up balancing out. Definitely did help. 

Kind of a big deal

How many access points are we talking about here?

How many SSID's?


For stability it's best to have the SSID dedicated to either 2.4 or 5GHz. Don't use band steering etc. I would also recommend static power/channels. Sounds like you did a survey, so those results would help you decide what power level you should have the radio's operating at.


Data rates on 2.4 choose either 12 or 24.  5GHz either 6/12/24. If you have a crap ton of access points then I would lean towards 24. However using 6Mbps might possibly help with retries etc. Those three rates are mandatory per the 802.11-2012 (Section standard. So some old devices (rare though) might act up if you use something like 18Mbps etc.


I would also do a sanity check on every single port that each AP is connected to. Make sure they are setup correctly, native vlans/allowed vlans etc. Make sure your SSID configs are correct on that aspect as well if your using bridge-mode.


If you CAN get everything on 5GHz it's usually preferred, and if a proper survey was completed, this shouldn't be an issue. With the static channels make sure you only use frequencies that your devices support. Those devices might only be able to use UNII1/3 for example, so DFS might not be an option.


If you have an access point in the break rooms/office areas for example, and production clients never really connect to it (warehouse ones that is), you could put those ones on UNII2 band so that any traffic on that AP isn't having any impact on the wireless out in the warehouse with people watching YouTube etc. Just make it vanish like magic  😃


Check the client devices wireless settings. if there are options to force it to only use 5ghz, then that might be the direction you want to go. look at driver version updates etc.


As long as your configuration is solid (sounds like it could use some tweaking), and a proper survey was done, then your at the will of the client gods lol.

Nolan Herring |
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