Choosing the right solution when upgrading your healthcare wireless network

LANS, WANS or Mobile Broadband

As the healthcare industry prepares for the 2015 U.S. Governmental EHR/EMR Compliancy, long-term care communities are finding it necessary to upgrade or add an enterprise wireless network to their facilities to assist in support this change. Sorting through the technologies available and understanding the pros and cons of each can be confusing, especially when adapting to several-decades-old buildings that were not designed for wireless systems. This information below overviews three wireless solutions available from ProviNET Solutions to help staff and management teams as they research the best options to meet their wireless connectivity needs.

Wireless Local Area Network

A wireless local area network (LAN) is the most commonly used wireless connection for mobile users within buildings. A wireless LAN allows users to connect to a local area network via a wireless connection.

Mobile technologies, such as laptops, smart-phones, and tablets, connect and communicate with wireless access points distributed throughout the building, which are in turn connected to a building’s hard-wired network. Since the access points are located on-site, a wireless LAN requires hardware administration and management. PROS: LANs allow mobile connectivity to core business functions. Common applications include bedside charting, facility management applications, and point-of-sale order taking. Additionally, separate wireless networks can be broadcasted to allow patient and family members to connect to the Internet within the building.

CONS: Access points with a LAN network are limited to the areas covered by the access points. Transmissions from various other devices can create interference, and walls can cause connection loss or create gaps in the wireless coverage. Both of these can interfere with reliability and availability of the network.
It is important for a community to partner with a provider that is able to appropriately design and implement a wireless local area network.

Wireless Wide Area Network

A wireless wide area network (WAN) is a wireless connection, joining two or more buildings through a wired network, enabling each building the use of the same LAN. A “bridge connection” is set up to allow secure, high-speed communication between the buildings.

PROS: A WAN wireless connection can save a healthcare community money and effort by eliminating the need to lay cable and the need to pay an Internet Service Provider for additional bandwidth. A wireless WAN is useful in a campus setting and in some instances can be used for buildings that are up to 20 miles apart.

CONS: A wireless WAN simply connects two or more buildings and does not eliminate the need for a wireless LAN within a facility.

Mobile Broadband

Wireless access can be extended to remote users via mobile broadband. This is a public data network operated by cellular service providers, eliminating the need for hardware administration and management. The wireless network is delivered to users of smartphones and other handheld devices directly, allowing for mobility, portability, and remote access.

PROS: A mobile broadband wireless connection allows doctors and staff members secure access to patient information from a remote location – clinic, home office, or patient home. Home health nurses can use tablet devices to access patient records and test results securely, without having to connect to a patient’s wireless network if it is available.

CONS: Monthly recurring costs to the cellular providers are required for each mobile device. Additionally, rural areas may experience limited coverage that may impact the ability to use them at all client locations.

Connectivity and intelligent systems with the performance and speeds your business needs. Contact a Wireless Network expert today for a free consultation.