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What Are the Top 5 Healthcare Wireless Networking Solutions?

Entities need to consider their workflow and infrastructure needs when selecting a healthcare wireless networking solution.

healthcare wireless networking solutions

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are faced with many options when it comes to choosing a vendor to work with to improve the entity’s healthcare wireless networking infrastructure.

Not all vendors offer a complete wireless solution or offer the same management capabilities and features. Organizations need to assess what they need from their service provider and what kind of solution they are capable of deploying.

Wireless vendors fall into three categories: vendors that offer their own wired and wireless infrastructure components, vendors that focus on a specific connectivity options (such as wired or wireless features), and vendors that use strategic partnerships to provide the hardware or software components of their networking solution.

IT departments that are more hands on may feel like they have more control over the network if they use all on-premises equipment. Smaller IT departments may be more partial towards cloud-based controllers or network management solutions.

Organizations need to choose a vendor that is able to anticipate and integrate evolving technology and approaches for the future needs of users, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for wires and wireless LAN access infrastructure.

READ MORE: How WLAN Vendor Acquisition and Collaboration Affects Clients

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

Healthcare organizations have many options when it comes to deploying their wireless network, and after careful consideration by HITInfrastructure.com, these are several of the top contenders.

Aerohive

Aerohive’s healthcare network solution focuses on connected care to ensure that IoT and mobile devices are supported as their numbers increase. The solution offers easy onboarding of devices, a central management platform, and guest network security access that does not compromise network security.

The networking solution also offers flexibility so organizations can grow their wireless LAN architecture to exceed traditional growth limitations.

Gartner stated that one of Aerohive’s biggest strengths is its ability to connect remote offices of any size organization and more functionality can be added easily. However, one of the drawbacks of Aerohive is its limited number of strategic partnerships. The lack of partnerships can lead to entities being unable to integrate a new Aerohive solution with some of the legacy equipment they still need to use.

Extreme Networks

READ MORE: Considerations for Deploying Healthcare Wireless Networks

Extreme Networks provides its own wired and wireless infrastructure components. It uses application intelligence and control from network-based analytics to help hospitals be more aware of network operations.

Extreme also supports BYOD programs by giving IT administrators visibility and control over network connections. Extreme focuses on IoT and medical device network safety by simplifying these connections that are becoming more complex.

Centralized management applications for wired and wireless environments that can be deployed on-premises or virtually in the public or private cloud is one of Extreme’s greatest strengths, according to Gartner. When looking into Extreme, organizations need to make sure that the indoor location service is strong enough to meet their needs.

Cisco

Cisco’s main goal with its healthcare wireless networking solution is to help organizations digitally transform their IT infrastructure to improve patient outcomes. Cisco does this by supporting the growing number of evolving connected medical devices.

The solution supports remote care and collaboration, simplified clinical workflows, and optimized workplace efficiencies. Cisco also addresses cybersecurity regulation requirements and helps research and development teams connect to manufacturing more easily to speed up time to market.

READ MORE: Healthcare Wireless Network Upgrades Critical for Future Success

Gartner stated that Cisco’s fabric architecture is especially tuned to IoT and connected medical device requirements. However, several of Cisco’s smaller ranches such as Meraki operate separately, which can make it difficult for integration among tools.

Aruba (HPE)

Aruba is a subsidiary of HPE and focuses on the growing demand for personalized healthcare by incorporating clinician and patient-facing devices into its network.

The solution includes role-based access control with prioritization of critical apps, so the data needed in emergency situations can be accessed instantly. Guests can also easily access fast and reliable WiFi without compromising network security. BYOD devices are also supported, and the connections are visible to IT administrators.

Aruba has a high level of satisfaction for its ClearPass tool, which provides guest access, device profiling, posture assessment and onboarding, according to Garner. However, Aruba’s cloud offering does not meet the same functionality standards as its on-premises ClearPass and AirWave offerings.

Brocade (Ruckus)

Brocade recently acquired Ruckus and focuses on a secure, agile, and information-sharing infrastructure for its healthcare solution. Brocade intends for healthcare organizations to use its networking technology modernize operations and embrace newer technologies such as the IoT and virtualization.

Brocade boasts a patient-centered network, which is intended to align with value-based care models by improving care through technology. The patient-centered network allows IT to have better control over digital resources through hardware and software functions.

Brocade’s CloudPath service application is one of its top strengths and provides device onboarding, self-service guest access, security and policy management across the ICX switch, and Ruckus WLAN infrastructure, according to Gartner. However, healthcare organizations need to be cautious of the pending acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom.