Today, connectivity is the lifeline of warehouses. With cutting-edge automation, real-time tracking, and data-driven operations, having a solid wireless network is mission-critical. Yet many warehouses rely on outdated Wi-Fi infrastructures that can’t handle the demands of modern devices and bandwidth-hungry applications. The result? Slow speeds, limited coverage, and frequent downtime that throws workflows off track and hinders productivity.
That’s why more managers are looking to Wi-Fi 6 as the ideal way forward. With cutting-edge speed, capacity and efficiency, Wi-Fi 6 was purpose-built for complex wireless environments like modern warehouses. This isn’t just an incremental upgrade – it’s a true leap forward, multiplying your bandwidth while delivering solid reliability.
Wi-Fi 6/6E, also known as 802.11ax, is the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology. It builds on previous standards like 802.11ac to deliver substantial improvements in several key areas:
WiFi 6E represents the newest iteration that unlocks the 6GHz spectrum band to provide much-needed capacity for our increasingly connected world. With more devices than ever relying on WiFi, opening the 6GHz band is critical. Wi-Fi 6/6E sets a new standard for next-generation wireless performance, especially in IoT-centric environments like smart warehouses.
The next generation of wireless technology offers a range of benefits that can significantly enhance your warehouse operations. By upgrading to Wi-Fi 6, you can future-proof your network infrastructure and take advantage of advanced features that improve efficiency and reduce congestion.
Real-world speeds are commonly 2-3x faster than the previous generation. This means your pickers can instantly pull up product information and order details on their mobile devices, instead of waiting for laggy data that slows down pick rates. Your shipping department can work through manifests and label printing jobs in no time. Even large software and database updates that used to cripple older Wi-Fi networks will complete seamlessly in the background. With Wi-Fi 6, every scan, pack, print and ship operation is accelerated thanks to the enhanced wireless speeds.
Another standout feature of Wi-Fi 6 is its increased capacity, allowing for more simultaneous connections. With Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology, the network can efficiently divide channels into smaller sub-channels, enabling multiple devices to transmit data simultaneously without interference. This means your warehouse can support multiple applications running concurrently across the floor without experiencing performance bottlenecks.
Your team of pickers can use handheld scanners to verify inventory in real-time at the same time as your packers look up orders while your QA staff validate shipments using mobile computers – all without competing for bandwidth. Even with dozens of devices pinging the network, a Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure can easily handle the load.
With all the racks, machinery, and inventory in today’s warehouses, Wi-Fi signals can struggle to penetrate distance and maintain strength. Tall metal shelves swallow up the signal, creating dead zones across your facility. Wi-Fi 6 is engineered to overcome these problems with powerful signal range and penetration abilities. It uses clever optimisations like multi-user MIMO so signals reach further and maintain strength even in challenging environments.
Your workers can roam freely between racks and aisles without frustrating drop-offs. Forklifts won’t lose connections when moving into the back reaches, and AGVs can map out every inch without missing critical network coverage.
Wi-Fi 6 comes with Target Wake Time (TWT) technology, which allows devices like handheld computers and tablets to intelligently schedule their wake-up times. They conserve energy when not in active use rather than constantly looking for a connection.
Battery life is extended significantly across your device fleet meaning workers can fulfil orders during a full shift without their scanners dying halfway through. Automated guided vehicles can operate longer without heading back to dock, and sensors can go months rather than weeks before needing a battery swap.
By reducing maintenance needs, workers aren’t tethered to chargers and can focus on core tasks. TWT ensures your mobile equipment has the uptime and longevity to improve productivity.
Wi-Fi 6 brings improved wireless security that complements other measures to protect your warehouse. The latest encryption protocol, WPA3, hardens your network against brute force attacks and prevents unauthorised devices from easily cracking passwords to gain access.
WPA3 works hand in hand with your other security tools like Zebra’s Intelligent Cabinets and Waizu’s Bluetooth tracking tags. The cabinets provide controlled access to devices for specific users, while the tags prevent theft. Combined with Wi-Fi 6’s encryption, you have layered defences to secure critical hardware, apps, and data.
Another benefit of upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 is its compatibility with existing systems. Whether you’re using Android-based devices or have a mix of different technologies, Wi-Fi 6 can seamlessly integrate with your current infrastructure, making the transition smoother and more cost-effective.
By upgrading to Wi-Fi 6, your warehouse can benefit from increased capacity, improved connectivity, extended battery life for devices, enhanced security measures, and seamless integration with existing systems. With these key advantages, you can boost efficiency and productivity while future-proofing your network infrastructure.
Start by assessing your current network setup. Look for any weak spots or areas where the signal may be unreliable. This evaluation will help you understand if your current infrastructure can support Wi-Fi 6 or if upgrades are necessary. Consider factors like coverage, bandwidth requirements, and potential obstacles that could affect signal strength.
To ensure optimal performance, plan the deployment of your Wi-Fi 6 network strategically. Identify the areas that require strong coverage and plan access point placement accordingly. Consider any potential physical barriers like walls or equipment that could interfere with the signal. By strategically planning your network layout, you can maximise coverage and minimise dead zones.
Check if your existing devices are compatible with Wi-Fi 6 technology. While newer devices usually support this standard, older ones may only be compatible with upgrades. If necessary, consider upgrading devices to fully leverage the benefits of Wi-Fi 6. This step ensures that all connected devices can take advantage of faster speeds, improved efficiency, and lower latency.
When exploring a mobility upgrade to WIFI 6, you need a partner that can identify, stage and kit devices tailored precisely to your workflows. We understand that one size doesn’t fit all in complex operations like warehouses, that’s why we start by understanding your data capture needs, application requirements, and infrastructure.
We then match you with specialised mobile computers, tablets and other technology that optimise efficiency. For example, compatible options like Honeywell’s ScanPal EDA56, Zebra’s ET60 enterprise tablet, and Zebra’s flagship TC53 mobile computer stand out as prime examples of WiFi 6-ready devices, with rugged designs made for all-shift use, these devices deliver next-generation speed, responsiveness right out of the box.
Choosing new devices is a big decision - but upgrading to the latest technology can vastly improve your operations. Our team of experts can conduct a full assessment of your workflows and pain points to determine the ideal equipment for your specific needs. We'll demo the newest mobile computers and scanners so you can see the advanced features and durability first-hand.