Infrastructure Deep Dive: Where to Start
Enterprise-grade network infrastructure—engineered for the dense usage of smart devices leveraging voice and data applications—is essential to the successful creation of a mission-critical mobile collaboration platform. This infrastructure is comprised of an organization’s hardware, software and network environments. Knowledge of how the different layers of technology will work together to form a solution is critical to success in any given environment. There can be significant variance in the theory and concepts for how a network is designed and planned versus how it is executed.
When using smart devices across a health system, evaluate the following areas closely:
A densely populated network of enterprise-grade access points is necessary for providing a quality voice experience. Not only do health systems need the density, but they also need to be using access points and policies that are capable of voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi). Before choosing access points or while evaluating the network, the wireless network administrator should research hardware and firmware revisions for the wireless network access points
and controller that facilitate quality VoWiFi. Depending on the chosen device(s) for mobility, some versions of software can become problematic when deploying enterprise VoWiFi. Even if the system uses Wi-Fi phones today, creating a new wireless SSID and associated policies for this critical functionality is highly recommended.
Behind every wireless network, there’s a robust and stable wired network; both networks need to be exceptional to facilitate a positive end user experience. This holds true in a mission-critical mobile ecosystem. Regardless of the chosen vendor, communications applications are heavily dependent on the healthcare system’s LAN and WAN. It is best practice to create a dedicated virtual local area network (VLAN) for VoWiFi and give priority to that traffic as it moves across your network. Network QoS, CoS, DSCP, traffic tagging, traffic shaping, ACLs, routing statements, etc., should be evaluated when modifying your network to support a mission-critical collaboration platform.
To enable a VoIP-capable PBX to provide voice to mobile devices, the PBX administrator will need to build the necessary device profile and settings for a generic SIP device. This includes adhering to SIP standards, ability to contain voice locally to site if call is intra-campus, and for the creation of and permissions for generic SIP endpoint registration, among others. It is important to identify any potential hurdles to success by performing Interoperability testing and having knowledgeable solution providers.
Understanding that every network environment is different, these are good starting points for a deep network evaluation to be performed by your team or a third-party vendor on behalf of your team. A mission-critical mobile ecosystem is only as successful as a voice and data network will allow. The overall long-term success of the mobile platform depends on end user perception and adoption. The orchestration and alignment across different teams and technologies utilized establishes that perception. The deep evaluation of your wide and local area, voice and data network(s) is key to healthcare’s mobile renaissance.
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