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Case Study No.0002
Wireless Warehouse – Multiple Sites


Overview

A longstanding customer needed to replace their wireless system and handheld terminals that were near the end of their life cycle with a system that used new technology and would integrate into multiple hosts simultaneously. They also needed to have visibility of who was using which terminal to track errors and breakage.

Issues

Current 900mhz wireless system:
• was not 802.11b compliant
• did not support current security measures
• was fast becoming obsolete

Host system:
• Required use of unique terminal id to track warehouse inventory moves

Terminals:
• Current manufacturer was purchased by another vendor and repair parts would be hard to find
• Did not support 802.11b wireless standard
• Did not support new wave of software allowing over the air configuration changes and program loading
• Battery life was becoming an increasingly bigger issue. Employees had to carry extra batteries in their pocket to complete an entire shift. Batteries were not being recharged or worse, becoming lost.

Gateway software:
• Current software was purchased by another vendor. New vendor would not support old software with new patches/fixes.
• Could not access their VT100 Unix host and 3270 mainframe host at the same time from the same terminal

Wireless network management:
• Needed to view entire multiple site wireless network from a single site


AIDEA’s solution

After customer’s issues were outlined, we realized a solution could be put together with off the shelf hardware and software by making minor modifications. We installed a new wireless backbone utilizing faster, cheaper, more reliable 802.11b standard. We put new terminals on the new backbone that would not be end of life for years using lithium ion batteries that lasted an entire shift. After a short period to configure their software, they could access both a VT100 telnet session and a 3270 mainframe session from the same terminal at the same time. A script was written to allow the terminals to logon to their host without user intervention and the software vendor was involved to customize their software to allow a unique id number for each terminal based on the last octet of the IP address to be sent to the host from the logon script. This new software consisted of three pieces, a terminal resident program, a web based gateway software to reside on a server, and a wireless network management tool.

To track the terminals required a creative piece of custom software that interacted with the new gateway software. AIDEA was up to the challenge. A program was written to allow users to check in or out terminals based on a barcoded employee id and the terminal’s barcoded serial number. The software modified the logon script so a terminal could not logon to the host until the check out procedure was complete. This software also included reports to allow supervisors to see terminal/user usage.

After the install/integration was complete, the customer had a wireless system that not only solved their issue list, but will give them trouble free service for years.

Product list:

AIDEA’s custom terminal check in/out software
Symbol’s PDT6846 terminals
Symbol’s AP4121 access points
ConnectRF’s Twin Client terminal emulation software
ConnectRF’s Powernet gateway software on a Windows 2000 server
ConnectRF’s Vision wireless network management software

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copyright AIDEA Incorporated, 2009