Empowering Your WLAN to Deliver a Better Guest Experience

Posted August 10, 2015

The Challenge: Supporting a Major Increase of in-Store Wireless Applications — and a New Generation of WI-FI

Today’s wireless LAN (WLAN) is more than a network. It has become a critical business tool that helps retailers of all sizes improve the customer experience and associate efficiency. But wireless technologies and wireless initiatives have continued to evolve, pressuring the WLAN you have today and presenting numerous challenges:

Shoppers’ expect high-performance in-store Wi-Fi access

When today’s shoppers step into your store, they expect you to provide complimentary access to the store’s Wi-Fi network. They are looking to help control their cellular data fees and eliminate the connection issues that can occur inside a retail store. But providing guest access creates several issues:

  • Ease of access – You need to be able to allow shoppers to easily sign in to access your WLAN
  • Security – You need to be able to keep your network secure, despite the fact that you are offering open public access to your WLAN
  • Next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi support – The fifth generation of Wi-Fi is here. Analysts are predicting critical mass in just a few short years — in 2015 — and your customers are already buying 802.11ac-enabled mobile devices. You need to make sure that shoppers who have upgraded to these next-generation Wi-Fi devices can still access your WLAN
  • Performance expectations – You need to provide your shoppers with dependable high-performance Wi-Fi connections — despite major and unpredictable fluctuations in the number of users and traffic on the WLAN

There is a new generation of bandwidth-heavy wireless marketing applications that can greatly improve the shopper experience

Today’s shoppers are sophisticated, ready and willing to access numerous value add applications that you provide — from howto videos to video ads, product comparisons and personalized special offers based on their buying history. But adding numerous heavy-bandwidth applications that will be accessed by many users can easily overwhelm your available bandwidth, impacting WLAN performance.

There are new advanced video-based wireless applications that can substantially improve associate productivity and operational efficiency and effectiveness

In addition to the mobile inventory management applications that allow associates to check stock, price and more without ever leaving the customer, new video-based applications can help you ensure that all associates are up to speed on new products, wait times are minimal, shelves are well stocked and promotional displays are placed in the area of the store where they will get the most traffic. While these video applications can provide great value, they are bandwidth-heavy and can easily translate into reduced WLAN performance.

Applications include:

  • Training – On-demand video training can allow you to cost-effectively educate employees about new products
  • Video analytics – Video feeds from wireless cameras can provide a wealth of information about customers and the store — from how many shoppers are in each department to how many shoppers are stopping at an in-store promotional display to whether shelves are in need of replenishment or wait times are too long at the POS. Armed with this real-time information, store managers can ensure adequate staffing of associates in each department, re-locate a promotional display to higher traffic areas to increase exposure, direct associates to re-stock shelves and much more.

As a result of these challenges, you need to increase bandwidth and accommodate many new bandwidth-heavy applications, yet still deliver stellar WLAN performance and support the next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices that your shoppers are already adopting.

An Easy Solution: AP 7532 Access Point

Zebra Solutions AP 7532 Series access points are uniquely designed for retail, providing the features and functionality required to address every one of these issues in your store. Our AP 7532 Series and WiNG, our WLAN operating system, deliver the unmatched bandwidth, network performance, security and flexibility required to meet the wireless needs of your store, your associates and your shoppers, today — and well into the future.

Delivering more functionality for less cost

When you choose the AP 7532 Series, you choose WLAN infrastructure that delivers more, for less. The sleek design of the AP 7532 fits right into the most design-conscious front-of-store environments. And since the AP 7532 series offers a higher power radio than typical competitive devices, you can provide the same level of service as competitive devices with as few as half the access points, dramatically reducing your network costs

  • Highest performance wireless speeds with 3X3 MIMO and 256 QAM modulation – 3 spatial streams plus 256 QAM modulation support on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios deliver the maximum throughput needed to support virtually any enterprise application, including voice and HD video; works in conjunction with beamforming to boost range
  • Dual radio 802.11ac/802.11n – Provides an easy upgrade path to 5th generation 1.3Gbps Wi-Fi for unmatched performance and capacity, with continuing support for all existing Wi-Fi client devices (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)
  • The aesthetics for every inch of your environment – Choose the internal antenna option for a sleek look in public facing areas where aesthetics are important; choose external antennas when you need the flexibility to cover challenging areas
  • Radio Share and Off-Channel Scan – Enables a single AP 7532 to perform double duty as an access point and a sensor
  • Standard 802.3af – Simplifies and reduces total cost of installation using standard Power-over-Ethernet
  • Load balancing, pre-emptive roaming and rate scaling – Increases reliability and resilience of the wireless network to support mission critical applications
  • Gap-free security – Protects your network 24x7x365 with integrated security features

For assistance finding the right access points for  your wireless network, contact a wireless specialist at Barcodes, Inc.

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