November 27, 2013

Beyond Mobile and Public Safety, Microwave Finds its Niche

As we have seen recently, microwave radio continues to find new and niche applications beyond the archetypical mobile operator and public safety markets. Long time Aviat partner/customer Vertel has been working on microwave broadband in the Australian healthcare sector for many years. And with the recent emphasis placed on servicing the healthcare sector by the rollout of the National Broadband Network across Australia—as NBN lumbers along toward a 2019 completion date—Vertel has been able to re-energize this niche application in microwave radio for its support of telemedicine and telehealth, as outlined recently in Pulse + IT Magazine.


Photo credit: Andy G / / CC BY-SA

Working with the South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) in Victoria, Vertel created a microwave broadband network that is capable of delivering 100Mbps to all SWARH facilities. In addition, the network provides 500Mbps capacity across the entire system. That’s a far cry from the days when SWARH was founded in 1997 on the idea of developing a Wide Area Network (WAN) to deliver 4 or 6Mbps connectivity to small hospitals in the most remote corners of Victoria.

Even when the NBN reaches SWARH’s facilities in four to five years, the healthcare provider may not switch to its fiber from microwave. The business case for microwave broadband is very strong. “Like all things that come to us, we evaluate things on a business case,” says Gary Druitt, SWARH chief information officer (CIO). “We will look at what the NBN is offering, but currently there won’t be an offering suitable for us. When it can compete in a business sense with our existing (microwave) links, then we might switch to that carrier.”

Going forward, SWARH will continue to leverage its microwave broadband network. Cutting edge things, like remote ophthalmology scans! You’ve gotta see it to believe it!

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