The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) is building a wireless network as part of a major infrastructure upgrade to support the use of Picture Archiving and Communications System (Pacs) on hospital wards.
Pacs enables images such as X-rays and scans to be stored electronically and viewed on video screens, so doctors and other health professionals can access the information and compare it with previous images.
The ULHT's Network Services team decided to modernise and upgrade its network infrastructure across all nine hospital sites. The project is expected to last five years. The hospital trust is implementing a 1Gbps switched network backbone and 100Mbps Lan access - sufficient to give clinicians access to Pacs.
The hospital is also deploying wireless Lans in all wards, using two 802.11g access points per ward to provide 54Gbps. The first phase of the project is due to conclude by August, providing up to 75% wireless network coverage.
Jon Hill, IT infrastructure support officer at ULHT, said, "Initially we will put one access point at each end of the ward. Clinicians will use a mobile trolley to access Pacs."
At first, the trolley will offer only static images from Pacs via a web front-end, because of the 100Mbps bandwidth required to allow full manipulation of images in the Pacs database. But Hill hopes to eventually provide full Pacs access.
By February 2007, he expects to complete the ward wireless Lan roll-out by adding further access points to achieve 100% coverage.
The switched architecture comprises Cisco 2950-EI 24 and 48-port switches and 3COM 4400 switches offering 24 and 48 ports. PowerDsine 6024 Midspans used with both these switches allow devices on the Lan to receive power directly via the Ethernet connection using Power Over Ethernet (PoE).
With PoE, users do not need to incur the expense of wiring in mains cabling and sockets to IP phones or wireless access points.
Hill said the PoE specification will provide enough electricity for each network port to power up to two wireless Access Ports or support two VoIP handsets, each consuming about 6W.
This was first published in February 2006