As the world is turning mobile, fast and reliable wireless network connections are becoming more important than ever—and more difficult to manage and maintain. Within large corporations, public spaces, hospitals, and other high-traffic organizations, mobility should be one of the top priorities for wireless network managers.
Mobility allows for many different devices to work together within a large network. Hospitals—where numerous new medical tools like bedside devices are now wireless—are a great example. Mobility allows these devices to be integrated, enhancing the ability of a given department and the organization as a whole to gather and analyze data quickly.
The medical device connectivity market is expected to reach $2.67 billion by 2023, up from $763 million in 2017. This means that large healthcare facilities will continue to rely on a seamless exchange of information over wireless networks. These communications are often required in patient safety situations, and just aren’t possible without giving mobility the consideration it deserves.
Three important elements when you’re examining your current mobility success are:
Roaming troubles can be one of the most frustrating problems within hospital networks. The wide range of devices within these facilities—from vital-tracking wearables to tablets to smartphones—requires that a wireless network connection be constant and stable while the user moves throughout the space. Personnel and physicians are constantly communicating with one another, and patients need to be adequately monitored.
Thus, the ability to sustain a connection seamlessly when a device is roaming is crucial. Roaming basically means that the wireless connection is maintained as a user moves throughout the network boundary. When a moves, their device will connect to different APs that are placed around the hospital.
To help roaming capabilities, it’s thus required that APs are placed strategically—they should be located in high-traffic areas and near patient rooms, for example, where connections are happening. Take a look at the kind of space and obstructions you’re dealing with to ensure that APs are adequately supporting roaming. This is a huge factor in whether or not your network is truly mobile.
A big consideration for mobility in a hospital WLAN is the sheer number of devices that need to connect at any given time. Not only is it important to have APs placed properly, but it’s also important to consider whether the WLAN can support this wide range of devices.
The Internet of Things (IoT) means that more and more small, wearable devices are now entering wireless networks alongside traditional wireless devices like laptops and tablets. Because many of these new devices haven’t been around very long and don’t quite have a failsafe security system in place, it’s hard for wireless network managers to actually track each and every device, ensuring that there are no issues from the equipment used by patients, visitors, or staff members.
In addition to implementing proper network design that can handle this wide range of and potentially congested traffic, it’s essential to very tightly manage access levels for things like record-keeping systems, medical devices, and hospital IoT equipment. Administrators must also continually educate staff and clients about proper network usage.
Finally, mobility efforts won’t be successful without an effective wireless network monitoring program in place. At 7SIGNAL, our wireless network monitoring service gives you the visibility you need to track Wi-Fi performance as well as the end-users’ experience on the network.
Our Mobile Eye tool can be installed on an end user’s wireless device, giving network managers another set of eyes into how the Wi-Fi is performing. The Mobile Eye can be installed on many different devices from Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS, so you have comprehensive visibility. This will also allow you to detect where issues are coming from, whether they’re from a wireless or wired piece of equipment.
The user won’t notice that the Mobile Eye is running its tests. Results of these tests are uploaded into the cloud, giving you an easy way to collect data in one place. This data is represented in reports that inform you of issues before the end user experiences any problems. The Mobile Eye can store three months of historical data about network performance in the cloud.
Service level targets for Wi-Fi performance can also be monitored; and if a device is out of compliance, it is identified immediately.
7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.