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Are your Wireless Medical Devices up to the Coexistence challenge?

An interesting article titled “Wireless Medical Device Coexistence” (found here) was passed my way recently.  The article made a case that by creating a formalized testing strategy the risks associated with the coexistence of wireless technologies could be reduced resulting in a safe and effective wireless medical device. After reading it – I began to consider the problems we all face with wireless device coexistence and began to ask myself if such testing would improve the coexistence challenge.

Many medical devices today include wireless interfaces that utilize 802.11, Bluetooth or even ZigBee all within the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band.  The criticality of such connectivity varies widely across the various medical device types that exist.  The most critical of these devices require continuous wireless connectivity with a “zero or near zero” packet loss factor.

The paper points out that the IEC-60601-1-2 is the standard used for EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) testing of medical devices, but the standard does not include testing recommendations to determine the conditions necessary to maintain a wireless connection when subject to interference.  Now some of you Biomedical and Clinical Engineers might point to the ISO-14971:2007 standard, but this is focused on identifying the risks during the product lifecycle and does not specifically address the RF aspects.

So I wonder, if the industry created a testing standard for medical device coexistence (in the ISM band), would this advance our cause and allow more of us to get a better night sleep?  The article provides some examples of a suggested testing strategy (you can read it here), and I won’t debate the finer points but have to ask if this would result in a safer and more effective medical device. Read More »

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Can You Destroy It?

What’s the best way to demonstrate the physical durability of a new router? How about a spec sheet detailing stress test results? Not at Cisco; video of the router being used as a basketball and dog food plate gets the point across much more clearly. I was pleasantly shocked when I saw the abuses endured by Cisco’s new ISR 819 Router. It survived not only immersion in hot coffee but also a baking in a toaster oven.

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5 Configuration Changes to Fortify Your WLAN Security

You can protect your small business wireless network from intruders with a few simple tweaks

A wireless network makes sense for small businesses.  It enables you to connect wired and wireless devices, allowing you to expand your network operations and keep employees productive.  Also, a wireless LAN (WLAN) is easier and less expensive to set up than a wired network, and gives employees and guest users quick, convenient access to the Internet from anywhere in your office.

Deploying a wireless network is easy in part because the networking equipment, including wireless routers and wireless access points, ships with important configuration settings preconfigured. However, these preset passwords, along with other improperly set configurations, can lead to catastrophic breaches in network security. To ensure your wireless network is secure, the devices must be configured to block intruders and protect users.

Here are five changes you can make to your WLAN configuration settings to lock down your wireless network and provide business-class security:

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Summertime 2011: Observations of a CTO

By Bob McIntyre, CTO, Cisco Service Provider Group

I was digging around my PowerPoints on the laptop recently, getting ready for our “Cisco Live!” event, and came across a set of predictions I’d made, five years ago.

A CTO, making predictions five years out? What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, I wouldn’t be bringing it up unless it was so off base as to be funny, — or close enough to “correct” to boast a little.

Turns out it was mostly the latter, so allow me to boast a little. – Just a little. I promise.

Back then, in 2006, I said what will make service providers successful would be the delivery to consumers of their own personal HD video stream, on any device, wherever they were. A two-way stream. (This was the year before the iPhone and smart phones hit the market, and four years before “pads” did.)

I also surmised that triple and quad play (voice, video, data and wireless) bundles would continue to be the big thing; that operators needed to move drastically faster on what we now call “apps;” and that what we now call Wi-Fi mobile hot spots and 4th generation wireless (back then, we called it “fixed mobile convergence”) would be critical. Read More »

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It’s Not the Wireless! BYOD and Cisco Live! Customer Guest Blog

This week I’m happy to continue our customer guest-blog series with Blake Krone, CCNA Wireless, CCNP Wireless, and CCIE Wireless candidate. You can read more from Blake on his blog, Digital Lifestyle or connect with him via Twitter @blakekrone. Read on for a Cisco Live perspective from a true wireless professional.

Recently 14,000+ technology geeks invaded Las Vegas for Cisco Live! 2011 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. For me this was my 4th year in a row attending Cisco Live! and the 2nd in a row at Vegas. If you have never attended a Cisco Live! event in person I strongly suggest that you try to budget for it next time around. Not only is this the best week to jump head first into all areas of Cisco’s product portfolio but it is also an opportunity to see how the products can come together to provide connectivity for devices and people.

For every Cisco Live! event that is held Cisco builds their own network to support the conference attendees, sponsors, and speakers. This gives Cisco the opportunity to get a large set of data points regarding their products performance in abusive conditions. Lately we have seen or heard about the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon that is sweeping across the enterprise network and there is no better place to see that than a large IT conference.

One can safely assume that for all the 14,000+ in attendance each person will have at least 1 Wi-Fi connected device. Now let’s assume that a large chunk of those in attendance are like me and also have their laptop and a tablet with them, that’s a lot of connected devices to support! Whenever I talk with customers about wireless deployments the first thing I will say when we get to the point of turning on a network is that the client will cause the best wireless network to fail. We always push to make sure that the latest drivers are applied to the devices going to be used to ensure proper roaming and performance. But how do you manage that when you have no control over the devices being used? In the future we’ll use tools like Cisco NCS and ISE, for now we just hope it works!

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