Wireless Information Transfer in an Indoor Factory or Warehouse Environment
Wireless technologies and networks are a part of our daily lives and we are surrounded by a constant stream of wireless signals. Unfortunately, there are a lot of limitations. At Toyota Material Handling Europe, future demands and expectations are raising but the technologies available today are not adapting fast enough. Indoor factory environments, moving network nodes and rapidly changing topologies are demanding situations. In this new Internet of Things day and age, transferring information in these challenging environments, the standard master and slave configuration is not enough.
This report looks at the specific challenges establishing a wireless communication link between trucks in an indoor factory and warehouse environment. There are many factors to consider. Antennas, noise, frequency bands, different network technologies, propagation and path loss modeling to mention a few.
Antennas and on-the-truck antenna positioning require design choices to be made. If we want to benefit from using high gain antennas, positioning is an important factor. Noise, in the highly congested 2.4 GHz band is a problem, especially considering safety critical applications. The license free ISM frequency bands have all different advantages in range, available communication protocols and amount of other technologies sharing the spectrum.
The Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and V2X technologies looked at, tailored to the particular case of a warehouse environment like the Toyota factory, and the final selection relates to potential use case scenarios. Prioritizing, scalability, ad hoc network topologies, low latencies and short connection times together with long range, the new V2X technology building upon the IEEE 802.11p standard stands out.
This report evaluates the IEEE 802.11p wireless standard running the ETSI ITS G5 V2X protocol in an indoor factory and warehouse environment. Thanks to Kapsch and their EVK-3300 V2X Evaluation Kit it was possible to evaluate transferring information between nodes, the PSR, and looking at how useful different path loss models are for estimating relative distances between trucks.
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