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Aruba Networks Deploys Mobile-First HIT Network Infrastructure

Scarborough and Rouge Hospital deployed Aruba Networks 802.11ac wireless network to improve mobile and IoT operations.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Aruba Networks announced the deployment of its gigabit wireless network at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital to improve its HIT network infrastructure. The recently merged hospitals implemented the wireless network to bring users better network connectivity and prepare for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The new deployment features a full 802.11ac Wave 2 network, set up to accommodate anticipated future IoT devices and indoor location services.

Scarborough and Rouge consists of more than 5,000 staff members and 1,000 physicians, and the Aruba-based wireless network is now available at two of the organization’s main locations. The network will soon be upgraded at a third.

Scarborough and Rouge chose to upgrade its wireless network to accommodate the hospital’s growing mobility requirements. The organization determined that it was the right time to upgrade the network to meet growing current needs and support future IT infrastructure initiatives.

The hospital’s goals include improving nursing staff productivity with mobile workstations, increasing patient safety with fast and accurate information input, providing better patient experiences by delivering high-performance wireless access, and preparing for new use cases and future initiatives.

“With our previous wireless network, we encountered a number of limitations, including its inability to deliver the speed required to efficiently use newer mobile medical equipment, such as ultrasound devices for sending images, IV pumps for infusion data, and clocks for time updates,” Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Manager of Technical Services Gary Lam said in a statement.

“Furthermore, with the assumption that we’ll connect even more devices in the future, and an expectation of our patients and physician groups that they can use the latest laptops, smartphones, and tablets, we needed to put in place a network that could handle the speed and density to accommodate all of these.”

With its upgraded gigabit wireless network, Scarborough and Rouge Hospital can now add applications to improve workflow and increase patient care. Lam is confident in the ability of the new network to meet future needs.

“When we undertook this network overhaul, we wanted to be sure that whatever we deployed would not need to be ripped out and replaced in a few years,” said Lam. “Basically, we needed to prepare for anything the industry could throw at us for the next five years. Our Aruba network is helping us ensure that we’re ready to meet that challenge.”

Aruba Networks has carved out a place in the healthcare space by ensuring its networks are built to support the volume of connected medical devices expected in the next several years.

“You have to build a network for coverage the devices have to work everywhere,” Aruba Networks Product Marketing Manager Rick Reid told HITInfrastructure.com. “Once a hospital moves to that critical communication method you have to make sure it works in the stairwell and it works in the hallways, and you can’t have any dead spots.”

The network has to not only cover an entire area with strong and consistent connectivity, but it also has to support heavy periods of traffic and constant communication.

“An average hospital room will have between 15 and 20 medical devices, and almost all of them will be networked, either wired or wireless,” Reid explained. “That’s a pretty high density if you think about the size of an ICU room which is usually about 15’x15’ with 20 devices in it and the room next door has 20 devices in it. A ward is typically 20 beds, so that’s quite a lot of devices in a relatively small area.”

“Larger hospital networks can have something like 30,000 computers connected to their network, and they have over 85,000 connected medical devices. That’s the challenge, it’s just numbers and then trying to understand what those devices are trying to do.”

Healthcare organizations need to upgrade their wireless networks in order for IoT solutions to be successful. Legacy systems cannot support the high number of devices seeking to connect to the network.