Bega's 100% wireless coverage within a unique environment

Wednesday, 20 July, 2005

Bega has implemented full wireless VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and wireless data capture coverage within its massive NSW packaging and distribution facility.

Australian wireless data company, Peacocks MD&B was selected to complete the site survey, equipment recommendation and configuration for this complex site instal-lation, which dramatically improved Bega's inventory control and distribution operations overnight.

Peacocks MD&B was initially asked to complete a site survey for introducing wireless data systems within the entire facility including the introduction of a wireless data network, data capture equipment and barcodes. At the time barcodes were not used on all products, containers, pallets or racking and so Bega required a complete inventory tracking system that would record the movements of stock from anywhere within the facility. Bega, impressed with the survey and results, then asked Peacocks MD&B for a survey and report of Bega's existing wireless VoIP coverage area which was performing poorly with many radio 'blind spots' due to the site containing sealed rooms with walls that radio signals would not penetrate.

At the completion of the site surveys, Peacocks MD&B developed a plan that used strategically placed access points throughout the site with each access point fitted with a unique splitter that connects to more than one antenna. 100% wireless coverage could be achieved using a lot fewer access points than would normally be installed in a site of this size and complexity.

Each antenna needed to be specifically configured to the room it was located in, requiring specific antennae coverage patterns, types of antennaes used and types of cabling. Proper coverage and throughput in a wireless VoIP environment are crucial and require far greater skill and planning than for a traditional data-only WLAN.

Within Bega each room has its own special environmental issues and requirements. For example, there are chiller rooms with very low temperatures and thick walls, maintenance rooms with background radio interference, clean rooms that needed to be completely sterile at all times, holding stores that move large volumes of stock, receiving docks with exposure to outdoors and a reception room that has specific corporate aesthetic restrictions. To top it all off, every room had high density insulated walls and flooring that would not allow wireless signals to penetrate.

This installation involved 12 Cisco access points, 12 Intermec CK30 handheld PDA/scanners and 12 forklift mounted Inter-mec 2455 wireless devices with Intermec's 1553 hand-held scanners attached allowing data capture without leaving the forklift. All of the data received is collated and processed by an existing GEAC System 21 ERP installation already in use.

Each room was assessed and treated individually with the appropriate solution developed, for example: in the clean room all the access points and cabling was installed into the roof lining and only the antenna (sealed within a hygienic case) protruded into the room.

This was completed without even entering the room for the installation, providing no opportunity for bacterial contamination. Peacocks MD&B supplied and pre-configured all of the equipment, cabling and software, literally supplying a 'ready-to-go' package that was easily installed by Bega's IT and facilities maintenance team.

The end result was 100% wireless coverage throughout the entire facility, clear VoIP reception and operation, and additional activity points with no interruptions to the site's day-to-day operations. All of this using far less equipment than would be supplied by other providers. The new implementation went online without a single problem and this solution in conjunction with Peacocks MD&B is now planned to be installed within Bega's manufacturing facility.

For further information contact Peacocks MD&B

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