Antwerp University Hospital

Challenges

  • Find a high-performance wireless LAN architecture that could provide staff, patients, visitors and university students with uninterrupted network access
  • Needed to provide connectivity throughout the hospital to give staff access to bedside medical applications such as Qcare, Metavision, PDMS and C2M
  • Needed to resolve maintenance and management issues
  • Needed to significantly reduce operational overheads and inject these savings into other service improving projects

Results

  • Liked Aerohive's controller-less architecture because it minimizes points of failure in the network and there is less physical infrastructure to procure
  • Using HiveManager to monitor and manage the network from one location, hence substantially reducing the demands on operational resources
  • Staff, patients, and students have continuous high-performance connectivity and can utilize a variety of devices and applications to do their job as required and without impacting network performance
  • Scaling its Aerohive controller-less architecture is simply a matter of adding APs with little intervention or reconfiguration

Aerohive Selected to Support Staff, Patients and Students

Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) is one of Belgium’s leading hospitals and is renowned for the superior quality of its patient care. It employs over 500 physicians, specializing in more than 40 different fields, to treat over 180,000 patients every year. With over 570 beds, the hospital offers a wide range of diagnostic and treatment services; including specialized services in the fields of cardiac science, neuroscience, surgery, critical care and ophthalmology.

The hospital offers comprehensive care for patients with complex disorders. Everyday its specialists conduct pioneering clinical research, constantly using this research to develop new treatments, with the ultimate goal of providing every patient with high class medical care.

The Challenge

The hospital was looking to implement a high-performance wireless LAN (WLAN) that could support staff, patients, visitors, and students studying at the university. The existing Cisco WLAN, however, was unable to support the hospital’s ambitions or provide the scalability they needed as a growing organization.

Wolfgang Wauters, ICT manager at Antwerp University Hospital, is responsible for IT infrastructure and ensuring that authorized users have uninterrupted access to the network.

He explains, “Anywhere, anytime connectivity throughout the hospital is vital for providing staff with access to bedside medical applications such as Qcare, Metavision, PDMS and C2M. We also wanted to give guest access to patients and university students studying at the hospital."

“Following recent expansion the incumbent Cisco WLAN was unable to cost-effectively scale or deliver the performance required for our wireless ambitions.”

Wauters adds, “We found that as more and more users came on to the network, the more it was struggling. Maintenance and management issues were becoming a problem too; we needed to significantly reduce operational overheads and inject these savings into other service improving projects.”

Solution

The infrastructure team looked to procure a WLAN solution that provided the functionality and scalability the hospital needed and at the same time significantly reduce management overheads. Working closely with technology partner, Nextel, Antwerp University Hospital conducted extensive research into the market and subsequently selected Aerohive’s controller-less WLAN to provide the hospital with its wireless needs.

Wauters explains, “We reviewed a number of vendors including Aruba, Trapeze, Meru and Motorola, but chose Aerohive because of its ability to cost-effectively flex and scale with the expansion of the hospital. Having the resilience to support such a diverse group of users and applications, without impacting network performance, was also a key factor in our decision.”

Aerohive’s cooperative control APs require no network controllers or overlay networks. Instead, software in the APs enables them to self-organize into groups called Hives. The result is a secure multi-service WLAN infrastructure able to support a vast array of wireless devices, application types and service levels, with faster client performance, wire-like resilience and lower capital and operational costs.

“We were impressed with Aerohive’s controller-less architecture since it minimizes points of failure in the network and is less physical infrastructure to procure.

“Coupled with the central HiveManager platform, which allows us to monitor and manage the network from one location, we can substantially reduce the demands on operational resource,” comments Wauters.

Results

Despite a significant increase in users, the WLAN is proving resilient and problem-free. Not only does this mean improved network connectivity for users, it is also liberating Wauters and his team from time-consuming operational and maintenance tasks. Wauters now feels confident in moving forward into more ambitious wireless projects:

“Staff, patients, and students have continuous high-performance connectivity, and can utilize a variety of devices and applications to do their job as required. Similarly, it is enabling our IT department to better manage resource.

“If we want to scale the WLAN, for example, Aerohive’s controller- less architecture enables us to add APs with little intervention or reconfiguration – within two clicks, the new AP’s can be up and running.

“This simplicity allows us to save time and money that can be injected into other projects, such as Voice over WLAN and assets tracking, which deliver immediate value to the hospital. Given the success of the deployment, we are already developing new wireless initiatives and plan to further expand the network.”

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