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Non-stop Wireless at Johns Hopkins Hospital

June 30, 2014
at 10:42 am PST

Johns Hopkins Medicine is one of the leading health-care providers in the US. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is consistently ranked as one of the top Medical Schools in the US and the Johns Hopkins Hospital is consistently ranked #1 in the US for 21 years in a row! In a previous blog in 2012, we described how the Cisco Wireless LAN controller 7.5 release enables wireless networks to recover with no client re-authentication in the event of a primarily controller failure. In this blog, I will share more details about unified access deployment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital with particular focus on the High Availability design.

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Patients are the focus at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Johns Hopkins uses state-of-the-art technology in their hospitals to ensure that patients get the latest advances from surgical tools, radiologic imaging suites with the best diagnostic capabilities to something as humane as sound-absorbing private rooms for each patient.

We spoke with Andrew Summers and Tim Barnhart, Senior Wireless Network Engineers about the deployment -- “Wi-Fi is used widely across JHH NCB VoIP Network for Nurse Call Manager as the primary source of communication with the nurses on duty via Voice and Text and therefore is mission-critical in nature”. The overall deployment contains:

  1. A highly robust networking solution that enables non-stop coverage for hosting various collaboration applications for staff, transferring key patient data such as images and videos for doctors to access and last but not least connecting the various heart-pumps and medical applications wirelessly. At Johns Hopkins NCB there also full coverage of Stairwells and Elevators, which in turn helps provided critical communication from anywhere in the building including patient elevators to doctors and nurses.
  2. A real-time locating system (using the Cisco Mobility Services Engine) that tracks WIPS, Rogues and Interferers instantly anywhere in the hospital, and can locate staff on the inpatient units. The young patients from the hospital have used an application on iPads to track Santa. In addition, the same Mobility Services Engine helps them locate stolen or misplaced mobile device within the boundaries of the University campus and Hospital

The wireless equipment includes:

  • Controllers: 8 pairs of 5508 Series Wireless LAN Controllers (3 Pairs of Residential, 3 pairs for Clinical side and 2 pairs of HA guest anchor) and 3 Pairs of WiSM2 blades operating on AireOS release 7.6.120.0. In the NCV building the Primary and the Standby 5508 are placed next to each other in an MDF. The WiSM2 are deployed in the data-center and use VSS with 6509 core over 10 Gig backbones.

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  • Access Point Models: Approximately 5000 Access Points -- AP3602i and 3602e, 3502i, 1242, 1142 and 1262
  • Cisco Prime Infrastructure operating on release 1.4.0.45
  • Cisco Mobility Services Engine operating on AireOS release 7.5.102
  • A variety of hospital equipment that operates purely over Wi-Fi such as Voice-over Wi-Fi, refrigeration sensor (blood banks), X-ray machines.

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To find out more about High Availability please reach out to a Cisco sales engineer in your neighborhood or check out the video.

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