Hospital wireless network design is a tricky business because of the critical nature of communications, advanced connected equipment and site challenges present in such a facility. When designing a wireless network for use in a hospital, unique considerations come into play that aren’t present when setting up wireless networks for the average business.
Start with a Site Survey
Before planning a hospital’s wireless network, a comprehensive site survey is a necessity. Wireless network planning for many hospitals involves throwing many standard practices out the window. This is because most facilities in use today were not built to accommodate wireless networks.
Hospital floor plans are increasingly complex, with different areas built with features that block signals. Devices used within different areas produce great radio frequency interference. In this critical environment, dead zones are not an option – coverage must extend everywhere.
A site survey helps wireless network designers identify the unique challenges that must be overcome in hospital settings and ensures none are overlooked, leaving the facility without the ability to communicate when necessary.
Due to the nature of sensitive patient information stored and HIPAA laws, a hospital’s wireless network should feature enhanced security measures to prevent data breaches. The facility’s main wireless network needs to be encrypted to prevent outside access to patient records and more. Intrusion detection systems help facilities identify network breaches and react quickly.
Requirements must be set for the types of devices allowed to connect to the facility’s wireless networks. With doctors, nurses and other staff using personal devices to check records and chart, limited parameters for access should be set to prevent unauthorized access to patient data. These devices also need to be properly encrypted before accessing the network, which requires additional protocols. Set user roles and multi-factor authentication for access to patient data.
Segregating wireless channels by traffic type helps prevent data breaches in wireless network design. Separate but distinct channels should be established for guest access, records and imaging, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other needs.
Wireless Access Point Planning and Configuration
When designing a hospital’s wireless network, it’s important to include the proper amount of wireless access points (WAPs) while avoiding too many. In non-critical networks, this is about one per 3,000 square feet, while in a hospital environment, one WAP per 1,000 square feet is often preferred to deliver the connectivity required in such settings.
Locations must be planned around construction materials, area usage, workflows and the bandwidth requirements of device applications. Installing too many WAPs is inefficient, as it reduces the wireless network’s effective throughput and wastes resources on hardware.
Hospitals utilize many types of connected devices for patient care and more. As IoT continues to expand, hospital environments will see more of these devices come into use. When designing a wireless network, the system should accommodate today’s needs with consideration for increased future needs.
Address Your Facility’s Needs with Telamon Wireless
Telamon Wireless delivers dedicated solutions to assist hospitals with network design and deployment. Learn more about available solutions when you contact us today.