Improving the Performance of a Honeywell CK3X Computer

We were at a customer site recently that has been using Intermec CKB computers for the past seven years. The CK3B is going end of service at the end of this year, so they purchased some CK3X computers to begin replacing the older units.

When we asked how the new units were working they told us that nobody was using them because they were slower than the CK3Bs.  This was surprising since the the CK3X has a faster processor, a faster radio, and more memory than the CK3B.  Both computers were running the same program and were connected to the same access points.

We confirmed the issue by doing an inventory transfer transaction with both computers which hit the database multiple times. The transaction validates the location and item number then does an update to a location table. The CK3B’s response time was about half a second while the CK3X took over a second to do the same transaction.

The culprit turned out to be the power setting on the radio.  By default the CK3X is configured Fast PSP (Power Saving Protocol) which turns off the radio at idle times to save battery life. When we switched this to CAM (Constant Awake Mode) the CK3X outperformed the CK3B. It seems that the CK3X radio was going to sleep in between transactions. This is probably a mistake by Honeywell aggressively trying to maximize battery life.

We did some testing to see how much the CAM setting impacted battery life. We pinged a CK3X every two seconds until the battery died and found that when in Fast PSP mode the battery ran for an average of 21 hours and ran for 14 hours in CAM mode, or a one third reduction in battery life.

Since 14 hours if well past the full shift needed for a battery, we think that CAM should be enabled for the CK3X, and that the increase in performance is worth the loss in battery life, especially when transactions are doing a lot of I/O.

To get to this setting on the CK3X click on Start, Settings, System, then Intermec Settings. Next, go to Communications, 802.11 Radio, Funk Security,  Profile 1, and scroll down. Under the SSID will be two radio buttons for Power Mode.