Don’t you just hate it when you drop your phone and it just stops working? My last phone fell out of my top pocket when I leaned over our pool and even though I got it out in less than 10 seconds and tried to dry it out, it was toast. Well, soggy toast I suppose.
There are times when you need something more. If you’re a manufacturer and you need some ruggedization then you might find it advantageous to look at the Cisco offerings. There are rugged versions of several products: switches, wireless access points and IP phone handsets to name just three. In the video I talk about one of them, the 7925G-EX handset that has been available for a short while now, and is being increasingly adopted by customers. Read More »
We often talk about business issues, customer care-abouts, productivity savings and the like on this channel, and sometimes philanthropy or esoterics, but mostly if you’re an engineer you have to deal with the technology, the installation, the support, and all the other stuff in terms of where the-rubber-hits-the-road.
When we post videos, we know people lose interest if they’re more than five minutes, so I’m glad it takes less than that to connect the gear up. A couple of cheats help of course -- like switching the radios on in the Cisco gear (they are shipped switched off for security reasons), and it helps to have a pre-charged battery available for the Intermec CK3. But then the video wouldn’t have made it onto the channel! We have quite a few customers with this kind of Warehouse technology.
Lately I had been spending a lot of time in the office rather than on the road. Which isn’t all bad, as it gives me some semblance of a routine rather than living out of a suitcase. It has also has given me some spare time to come up with another blog topic, which actually stems from some of the work I have been doing for customers lately.
Typically when a site survey is being done, we will do spectrum analysis work as well, part of my job entails creating and reviewing documents from this work, prior to delivering them to customers, which means I have been watching a lot of spectrum analysis lately. Most of the customers I have worked with recently have been with CleanAir APs, so they will be able to monitor their environment in real time, once the WLAN is up and running. However it’s always a good idea to perform some spectral analysis while you are walking around doing a site survey. And really why not? If you are there and you have a few minutes, fire up the old spectrum card and get a capture of whats going on with your RF. This helps make sure there aren’t any major layer 1 surprises when you go to install the new WLAN. It doesn’t mean things won’t change, and they often will, due to the dynamic nature of RF. It’s an ever changing environment, so what wasn’t there on Monday, might show up on Tuesday and be gone again by Wednesday.
Before jumping into particular types of interferes let’s talk about some of the data that Cisco Spectrum Expert can show you. Two of the things I like to look at when looking at the RF in Cisco Spectrum Expert, are Real Time FFT and Duty Cycle plots, as pictured below.
The Real Time FFT is showing you is the RF energy in real time measured in dBm, so how loud or quiet the device is. The next is the FFT Duty Cycle, which simply put it’s how utilized the RF is. Let’s say you have a device that is being captured as having a 1% duty cycle. This means it’s using a very small amount of the available ‘air time’ to transmit its data. Conversly if there is a device that is showing a 100% duty cycle it is using up all the ‘air time’ and not allowing other devices to use the RF medium to transmit.
Two other views I find helpful are the Spectrogram views. These display the same info as the plots above, but are plotted out over time. I use them in a few of the examples below.
John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.
John Deere MaxEmergeXP
Here’s the story: John Deere’s Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system. It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range - that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.
The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live. It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas. It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:
“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.
John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.
It is so critical that we make it easier for people to get on and off the network in a secure fashion. Cisco has made incredible strides merging access control platforms that have done well over the years yet still required heavier configuration and/or manual intervention. Not any longer…The Cisco Identity Services Engine or ISE, is a game changer that has already been well received by the market and yet just keeps improving.