How is LTE used in warehouses?
Private LTE and 5G networks allow warehouses to optimize operations by improving productivity, reducing labor costs, and improving communications.
Demand for warehousing has only increased in recent years, especially in the wake of the pandemic and amid the rise of online shopping. To keep up with demand and stay ahead of competitors, companies are now turning to private LTE and 5G wireless networks to transform their traditional warehouses into smart warehouses.
What is a smart LTE warehouse?
Smart warehouses use LTE and 5G networks to collect, analyze, and act on live data across their business to improve productivity, and communications while reducing costs. This data enables staff to monitor equipment and machine operation from anywhere in the world – helping to predict potential equipment errors or breakdowns through the use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence.
You can think of LTE and 5G networks as the super highway that enables this data to travel from the warehouse to the server where it’s turned into business insights. Devices such as smartphones, IIoT sensors, and autonomous vehicles can continuously stream valuable data businesses can use to improve their processes.
For example, 5G provides predictable bandwidth, coverage, and speed to support autonomous robotics to make real-time decisions and move seamlessly throughout a warehouse environment without incident.
The next generation of LTE warehouses is taking this a step further, allowing companies to now own and operate their own private LTE network. Unlike massive public cellular networks largely used by consumers, private wireless networks are fully controlled and managed by the warehouse, allowing for more security, seamless app integration, and control over network traffic and resources.
Benefits of LTE warehouses
With big data comes big benefits that help warehousing operations stay ahead of consumer demand and their competitors. Below are three of the major benefits businesses can expect from their LTE warehouse.
Reduced labor costs
Labor is typically the largest operating cost for most warehouses. Today, maintaining a team of warehouse staff is both expensive and challenging as employee churn rates continue to climb. 5G-enabled warehouses pave the way for autonomous vehicles and automation that can simultaneously reduce labor costs as well as improve worker safety.
Amazon has already deployed over 520,000 robotic units across its warehouses to reduce labor costs and help hit its goals for next-day deliveries. Autonomous warehouse robots can work non stop with little downtime thereby eliminating mundane repetitive tasks. This enables staff to move into more skilled positions to maintain and orchestrate these vehicles if needed.
LTE warehouses allow for improved productivity primarily through the use of automation. Even warehouses using analog and legacy hardware can benefit from the se of LTE and 5G technology. Small IoT sensors can wirelessly transmit data from older machines that lack internet connectivity through LTE and 5G networks. This cost-effective update helps eliminate warehouse downtime and mitigate expensive equipment upgrades.
With automation and robotics in place, packing, picking, shipping, and logistics are all made more efficient with the added benefit of enterprise scalability. 4G LTE and 5G networks allow for continuous low latency wireless coverage enabling the orchestration of multiple warehouses across a region.
Warehouses often upgrade their LTE network to include 5G service for their most demanding and critical applications. 5G provides wider coverage areas, ultra-low latency communications, and the opportunity to gain granular control over application performance.
For instance, rather than setting service levels across an entire subnet, administrators can assign specific throughput, latency, and error rates for individual applications. This level of control ensures mission-critical applications always receive the wireless resources they require, even when the network is under stress.
Smart LTE warehouses with Celona
Celona provides enterprises with their own LTE warehouse network as a fully integrated and turnkey system that complements the existing warehouse L2/L3 infrastructure. Through the simple yet powerful 5G LAN architecture, organizations can easily deploy plug-and-play hardware throughout their warehouse to get up and running in hours, not days.
The 5G LAN solution integrates directly with your existing architecture allowing administrators to easily integrate and synchronize QoS across the enterprise from a cloud-based console. Behind the scenes, the Celona Edge provides proactive traffic management and monitoring to ensure network service level objectives, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.
Celona uses cloud networking principles to make implementing your warehouse network an out-of-box experience. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.
If you’re looking to make private LTE a part of your warehouse operation, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your 5G LAN on private cellular spectrum, or test-drive Celona’s unique solution for yourself with a free trial.