Freezer and cold storage wireless applications require specific precautions to protect the performance of indoor WiFi access points (AP) in these locations.
As with all electronics, AP hardware operating at freezing temperatures is prone to failure and has a shorter life expectancy. To keep data flowing, many businesses are using custom enclosures to keep APs within specified operating temperature ranges and maintain reliable WLAN access.
Impediments to WiFi communication in a freezer room such as a meat locker or warehouse cold storage room include:
•At freezing temperatures, electronics are prone to rust and failure due to frost buildup and excessive moisture.
•It’s costly to install wiring, which is definitely not a short-term solution.
•Clean-in-place (CIP) procedures prevent the use of exposed AP hardware.
•RF coverage is compromised by the thick walls often found in storage rooms.
•Vandalism and theft are a concern for some businesses.
AP hardware operating temperatures vary significantly between models, some of which are specified within negative Fahrenheit temperatures. Assuming that current AP hardware is performing well in a setup, it’s generally recommended to use the same model for network compatibility reasons.
Custom enclosures can protect against many of these hurdles by insulating the AP and any other equipment from cold and condensation. This alone may raise the hardware’s temperature to safe operating levels without needing to install localized heaters. With the addition of an internal heater, AP enclosures can be safely installed in sub-zero temperatures.
Many APs are weatherproofed against moisture or sealed against CIP procedures. As always, check the IP or NEMA rating of an enclosure to see if it offers strong enough protection for the deployment area. Antennas are another effective accessory, while locks also provide a layer of security.
In the absence of reliable AC power, some users rely on Power over Ethernet technology such as that used in CAS DataLoggers’ Accsense A2-05 temperature monitoring pods.
For temperature monitoring of perishable food and beverage products such as meat and milk, wireless data loggers can be deployed alongside these enclosures or next to exposed APs whose reliability is a concern. The battery-operated TR-71wf temperature data logger from T&D is a two-channel model with an external thermistor sensor and a measuring range of –40° to 110° C. By using a wireless LAN, data is automatically uploaded to T&D’s free WebStorage Cloud Service. The service can be used with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Lascar provides the EasyLog-WiFi-T sensor that measures ambient temperature and transmits via a WiFi network to a PC. After configuration, the datalogger can be placed anywhere within network range, which can be increased by using WiFi extenders. If the sensor temporarily loses connectivity, it will log readings until it can communicate again with the PC application. When product is at risk, the user will receive email alerts on any smartphone, tablet, or PC.
For further information, call 800-956-4437 or access the website at www.DataLoggerInc.com.