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Healthcare Wireless Network Applications Provide Flexibility

Organizations are more focused on healthcare wireless network software than hardware appliances, according to Garner's latest report.

healthcare wireless networks

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare wireless networks are adapting to provide more intelligent technology. Because of this, organizations need to seek out vendors that can provide intelligent access layers to support future network automation, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for wires and wireless LAN access infrastructure.

The report predicted that by 2022, over 60 percent of vendors will use access layer network automation, up from the current 5 percent.

“Gartner's view of the market is focused on the vendor's ability to anticipate and integrate transformational technologies or approaches delivering on the future needs of end users,” said report authors.

Gartner defined wired and wireless LAN providers as vendors that supply both the hardware and software components of wireless infrastructure that allows devices to gain access to the network.

Enterprise level wired and wireless LAN networks include software service applications, network management and monitoring, guest access, onboarding services, policy enforcement, and application visibility.

Gartner also broke down wired and wireless LAN vendors into three groups based on what they focus on.

Vendors that produce their own wired and wireless infrastructure components include Cisco, HPE, Aruba, Extreme Networks, and Huawei.

Solution providers that focus on a specific connectivity options, such as wired or wireless features, include Aerohive and Mojo Networks.

The last group uses strategic partnerships to provide the hardware or software components of their networking solution, which includes vendors Dell and Juniper Networks.

Gartner noted that the market for wired and wireless LAN has changed based on the need for automation in the access layer. The network access layer is where information is transmitted and received across the physical network.

“Prospects' decisions historically have been made based on the speeds and feeds of the hardware, but this has changed as access layer switches and access points are more of a commodity,” said the report. Access layer applications at the edge of the campus network are the mainstay of the access layer and use information provided by connected network equipment and mobile devices to help organizations make business decisions.”

“These decisions can include the location of devices and whether guests and any device or user should be able to connect to the network,” the report continued. “The complexity of the access layer has risen because there are fewer IT resources to manage the increasing requirement for wireless connectivity. Instead of just collecting information at the edge of the network, vendors are using machine learning algorithms to automate discover, management, troubleshooting and resolution to automate the access layer.”

The market as a whole is much more focused on network service applications rather than hardware because there isn’t much of a difference between varying vendor hardware. All hardware is held to the same standards and is no longer a large contributing factor in which vendor organizations choose.

Entities are looking for vendors that supply the applications their organization needs such as location-based services, traffic analytics, behavioral analytics and network automation capabilities.

“The focus on network service applications is becoming especially true in outsourced managed LAN scenarios, where the customer may focus more on the network assurance capabilities that the provider offers, and the SLAs for supporting a specific user experience, than on the listed throughput, capacity or antenna specs for the deployed infrastructure,” report authors explained.

“Some vendors have begun characterizing their ability to automate network configuration, provisioning, onboarding, monitoring and other services as software-defined networking (SDN) or virtualization of the network, although the applications are not yet capable of dynamic reconfiguration of the network resources based on application needs.”

A vendor’s ability to adapt and produce applications to support more advanced infrastructure technology is the most significant thing organizations look for when selecting a service provider. As healthcare organizations continue to digitize their IT infrastructure they need a network with software that can adapt to changes. 

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