Southampton NHS trust upgrades WiFi for mobile clinical care

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) is upgrading its wireless infrastructure to cope with more mobile clinical working.

UHS has brought in managed network specialist Networks First to complete a WiFi upgrade.

UHS’ current wireless infrastructure provides over 500 access points. As part of its wider mobile working strategy, UHS wants to increase that number to accommodate more devices accessing the network.

It also needs to upgrade the capacity and resilience of the network as it plans the rollout of more mobile clinical applications across more platforms, such as smartphones and tablet devices.

For visitors, new wireless access points will also be accessible, making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends.

Mike Ives, IT manager at UHS, said: “Clinical staff, including ward nurses, doctors and pharmacists, want increased access to our network on the move and at the point of care, and we needed to upgrade our infrastructure to make that possible."

He said: "We are future proofing our wireless network against a planned increase in use of mobile clinical applications. We are already advanced in terms of e-prescribing, are currently looking at piloting an Acuity application, and are quite far down the road in a refreshed electronic patient record programme.

"As we move to a paperless, or paper lite environment, we need applications accessible across a plethora of devices and platforms."
Ives said the "aspiration" was to have "total wireless coverage" across the trust.

Networks First has already delivered a firewall upgrade and discussions are underway on a more rigorous network authentication programme as the trust looks to embrace BYOD (bring your own device) and granting public access to the network.

Networks First is upgrading the infrastructure to Aruba’s 7220 Mobility Controllers, ensuring the infrastructure can incorporate significant growth in the use of mobile devices and wireless connectivity, and support the latest multi-stream 802.11ac and 802.11n standards.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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