November 1, 2013

Microwave Radios Extend Wide Area Network for Healthcare Provider


Aged care provider Life Care decided not to wait seven years for Australia’s National Broadband Network to reach the Adelaide suburbs. Instead, it commissioned an Aviat microwave radio high-capacity WAN. Photo credit: Douglas Barber [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Microwave radio is many things: It is an enabling technology in support of the mobile phone revolution and all its dependent social networks. It is a dedicated system that provides the skeleton and musculature (i.e. infrastructure) that allows police, firefighters and other first responders to react in a coordinated fashion to both routine and emergency public safety incidents. But it also serves in lower profile but nonetheless very important niche applications around the world. Take for example the experience of a regional healthcare provider in South Australia.

In a recent article in the national newspaper The Australian, the networking story of Life Care, the umbrella organization for a series of five aged care facilities and 12 retirement “villages” in and around Adelaide, Australia, was detailed. With the rollout of the National Broadband Network slowly progressing across Australia and not anticipated to reach the Adelaide suburbs for seven years, Life Care decided it could not wait so long to connect its locations via high-capacity telecoms. It chose to bid out a project for its own private Wide Area Network (WAN). Aviat Networks partner MIMP Connecting Solutions won the contract as the incumbent vendor. The clincher on the deal: the capability of Aviat radios to connect the farthest outlying facility, at some 50 kilometers, in Aldinga with high-bandwidth wireless. Furthermore, MIMP could offer a licensed spectrum solution, free from interference, whereas the competitors could not. And with a breakeven ROI of just two years, an Aviat-powered microwave WAN was a no-brainer—the others were four-years-plus to payback.

MIMP got to work implementing the WAN for Life Care, and in just under 12 months, the whole network was complete and fully operational. Having recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, Life Care’s WAN has allowed the healthcare provider to move all its paper-based procedures to full digitalization within its care planning system for monitoring all patients. Life Care is now in a position to leverage its reliable 18GHz, 100Mbps microwave WAN to consider VoIP and teledistance video conferencing to cut phone and travel costs, respectively. Also, if it chooses to expand, more sites can just be “bolted onto” the WAN, says Kane Pryzibilla, Life Care’s information communications technology manager. Overall, in speaking about the Aviat-powered microwave WAN, Life Care CEO Allen Candy says, “The big selling item was that this is a ‘set and forget’ for us in the sense this has got leveragability for five or 10 years, it is not just a two or three year solution.”

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