Passive Optical LAN in healthcare and the need for proper networks in hospitals

Cemil Canturk, senior marketing manager, Optical LAN at Nokia & APOLAN Marketing Committee member, writes about how healthcare organisations need a network solution that meets patients’ and clinicians’ demands.

The proliferation of medical and non-medical applications brings new challenges for the “business as usual” approach of IT implementation in healthcare facilities. The IT networks in these facilities are under increased pressure from patients, guests, physicians and devices, demanding advanced connectivity. The use cases are broad and extensive for healthcare facilities.

Cemil Canturk

Cemil Canturk

For example, medical staff require quick and secure networks that allow for the collection, storage and access of high resolution images, the distribution of patient medical information and real time collaboration. There is also the need for connected medical devices, deployed all over hospitals, and new applications, such as real-time location services (RTLS), integrated security and energy tracking and AV systems, that provide information on available services.  All these applications require connection to a high-speed network.

In regards to patient and visitor experiences, access to a fast and secure internet connection in the healthcare facility will help patients and guests to pass their time more pleasantly and usefully, resulting in higher satisfaction scores.

Another trend is healthcare facilities pursuit of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. This includes embracing green IT systems with reduced HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), power and backup systems to comply.

Lastly, managing available space efficiently is paramount to a facilities success because of the need to create more useful spaces to care for patients. However, increasing the capacity of the traditional IT solutions bring opposite results to what the healthcare industry is looking for. Traditional IT solutions require:

  • more and larger IT rooms
  • more switches
  • more cabling and space for cable pathways
  • more energy for powering switches and cooling
  • more cost for IT department to commission, operate and maintain growing networks

With so much “more” needed, it’s time for a network solution that is purpose-built to meet this demand. Passive Optical LAN (POL) is ideally suited for all types of healthcare facilities, from small clinics to specialty and large corporate hospitals. It allows healthcare facilities to achieve improved efficiency at lower cost, green buildings and more efficient spaces by providing a future-proof and high-speed infrastructure.

POL is highly flexible and scalable and enables convergence of all services (voice, data and video) on to a single network. It is designed to use a simple and centralized architecture, eliminating multiple distribution layers typical of traditional LANs.  Because of its unique architecture and capabilities, POL delivers significant CAPEX savings. In addition, the entire network can be easily managed from 1 point offering OPEX savings in the ongoing operations of the healthcare facilities.

Other benefits are less HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), power and space required in the IT rooms. The freed space can be reused by the healthcare facility for revenue generating activities.

POL delivers carrier-grade reliability along with an inherent military-grade security. Compared to CATx cabling traditionally used in LAN networks POL uses optical fibre cabling providing higher capacity and data security.

Passive Optical LAN will last for decades, ready to support any new application that may come along. The capacity of the infrastructure will be sufficient for years to come, but if higher bandwidth is required in the future, the upgrade will be easy and cost-efficient. There is no need for forklift upgrades.

The healthcare industry is striving to achieve higher quality at lower costs and therefore Passive Optical LAN is the best choice today and into the future. Its architecture, scalability and reliability make it uniquely suited for hospitals´ mission-critical networks and its energy-efficient characteristic qualifies it as a green technology.


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