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Using SD-WAN Management in HIT Infrastructure Networks

A recent Hughes Network Systems SD-WAN management solution release highlights the importance of network visibility and control in HIT infrastructure.

Hughes released new public sector SD-WAN management solution

Source: Thinkstock

- Hughes Network Systems announced the release of its public-sector software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to assist multi-site organizations manage their HIT infrastructure networks.

The new SD-WAN solution is cloud ready, has higher network and application availability, and also increased network flexibility. The SD-WAN network supports heavier workloads such as voice over IP (VoIP) and video files.

"As government agencies pursue strategic modernization of their IT, they face several challenges, such as efficient cloud access, high application performance and availability, and increased number of devices being added," ZK Research Founder and Principal Analyst Zeus Kerravala said in a statement.

"SD-WAN is an excellent networking solution to meeting these challenges, and is already being successfully deployed by commercial enterprises delivering greater agility, lower costs and improved operational efficiencies,” he continued. “However, organizations with widely distributed branch sites will face unique deployment challenges rolling out an SD-WAN that a managed service provider can help overcome."

Hughes Managed SD-WAN includes features such as ActivePath, which incorporates algorithms to discover and utilize multiple network paths. This way, applications are delivered uninterrupted using the clearest path possible.

The SD-WAN option also offers ActiveQoS, which measures end-o-end capacity on broadband links. It shapes the traffic by constantly updating priority queues to maximize bandwidth usage.

ActiveClassifier classifies traffic based on flow behavior, eliminating manual configuration needed to prioritize certain apps.

Hughes Managed SD-WAN also integrates broadband access via cable, fiber, LTE, and satellite.

Networks that can automatically prioritize certain workloads and prevent the network from becoming over crowded are vital, especially as cloud-based applications and dense media are incorporated into healthcare organizations.

Many healthcare entities depend on their networks delivering patient information quickly. If the network is too crowded, information is delayed, which could harm a patient in need of urgent care.

The network needs to know the difference between a clinician looking at an EHR in during a routine visit and a clinician looking at an EHR in the emergency room or ICU. Urgent instances need to be prioritized, which is why virtualizing the management of the network with SD-WAN is important to health IT infrastructure.

SD-WAN centralizes the control function into a SDN controller and the controller abstracts the user’s private network services from the underlying IP network. This enables the user to operate the private network services through a centralized policy.

SD-WAN is also flexible and can adapt more easily to changing network conditions and bandwidth demands during peak hours.

SD-WAN essentially pulls the intelligence out of network hardware. Organizations implementing SD-WAN no longer depend on each piece of hardware to house its on management controls.

The SD-WAN management encompasses all hardware. This saves time and money when the network runs into problems because network administrators don’t have to address the problem with an individual piece of hardware. Administrators can then manage the network remotely.

While SD-WAN has many benefits for healthcare organizations, it has been slower to catch on because of general hesitation to implement a technology that operates differently than legacy network solutions.

A ZK research report found that healthcare organizations in particular are maintaining technology that isn’t the most advanced. Legacy technology that is proven to perform tasks securely is viewed as safer because of the notion that drastic IT infrastructure changes will disrupt the network.

SD-WAN allows organizations to recover faster from a network outage. It also assists in preventing DoS attacks because it give network administrators more visibility and control over the network.

Visibility and control are the top features network administrators look for in a network management solution and SD-WAN offers a complete view of the network.