FloPlast Ltd Wireless Upgrade

The customer was having problems with their current wireless setup of 2 Symbol WS5100 wireless controllers (unable to login due to browser and Java restrictions) and 20+ AP300’s in varying configurations and conditions. It was suggested to mirror their current system using 2 Zebra/Motorola RFS4000’s set to cluster mode and AP7522 with external antennas and enclosures.

An initial on-site test was performed where by where the new controllers were installed, their firmware was sufficiently passed 5.7 that they would not adopt and control the current AP300 infrastructure and visa versa the WS5100 would not support the AP7522, thus keeping the two networks separate; even though they shared the same SSID’s and encryption method. Two new AP’s were fitted and testing of coverage, noise and compatibility started. The initial tests proved rewarding, but after a short while it was obvious there were certain pitfalls running two sets of controllers. Where terminals would connect on the new wireless network and then roam to the old network no problem would persist as the intelligence is built into the AP’s as well as the controller, however once associated to the old network, traffic and the server sessions was passed through the old controller and if the terminal now roamed to the new network the old controller would not release the session causing the application to hang. This problem meant that the entire site had to be converted at the same time and not on an area by area basis.

The swap over was planned so that any roaming between areas was minimized and the installation began. It took two days for the site to be fully converted with only a few problems be encountered along the way:-

  • Some of the network points were corroded due to location, these were replaced and sealed.
  • The external AP’s on the masts needed specialized equipment to lower so we liaised with an electrician to do repairs at the same time we replaced the AP’s.

The overall performance gain and roaming capability of the new wireless network saw a marked improvement. Along with a much improved management system.

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