Thousands of hospitals around the world are setting up temporary COVID-19 treatment and testing facilities. Each of these new facilities needs networking equipment to keep physicians and staff productive and informed, and to enable patients to communicate. But these organizations are struggling to get the equipment they need quickly, due to high demand and short supply.

Cisco has set up two programs to help healthcare organizations rapidly obtain networking equipment at no cost: The Cisco Pandemic Equipment Brokerage, and the Cisco Healthcare Rapid Response Network Bundle. Cisco is also supporting our healthcare customers with expertise: We have networking engineers on call to provide design and configuration support for technology practitioners as they work to keep their communities safe.

1. The Cisco Pandemic Equipment Brokerage

Through this program we are connecting our customers who can donate wireless equipment with healthcare organizations who need it.

We have talked with IT teams at several companies that have new equipment still not set up, or hardware left over from previous upgrades, who would like to contribute it to the pandemic response. If, like them, you’d like to donate networking equipment to healthcare institutions, this program will help you get that hardware to where it can do the most good. Please see the Pandemic Equipment Brokerage Program to learn more and sign up. Likewise, if you work at a healthcare organization and need wireless networking equipment, use the site to make a request. Cisco will connect donors to organizations in need.

We also offer email and virtual technical support for the healthcare organizations that need it. Please contact covid-healthcare-wlan@external.cisco.com for more information or for help.

2. Cisco Healthcare Rapid Response Network Bundle

Inside Cisco and within our supply chain, we have identified collections of wireless networking equipment that we can quickly distribute to support pop-up clinics and rapid response healthcare systems across the globe. We are making simple kits – a router with LTE uplink, a switch with Power-over-Ethernet capability, and up to 5 wireless access points – available for quick shipment at no cost to qualifying healthcare institutions.

Our no-cost network bundle is a self-contained access system.

As of this writing, we have approved about 65 requests for wireless kits. See the program’s Web page for more information or to sign up. You can also request a Healthcare networking kit for your institution by contacting your Cisco account manager or account representative for details.

(We realize that our two programs overlap a little. These initiatives were developed independently inside Cisco by small teams. As time goes on, we will work to consolidate the programs, but we didn’t want to delay implementing them during this time of urgent need.)

Get Help Configuring Pop-Up Wireless Networks

We recently held an online video session for networking practitioners who are setting up temporary wireless systems in unprepared locations, such as parking lots and garages. You can view the replay of this event and see the presentation slides. Our Healthcare Virtual Series page has links to configuration guides for the most common wireless equipment that will be distributed through the above programs. (This advice is intended for critical and temporary networking solutions, not necessarily for permanent installations.)

From our presentation on setting up temporary Wi-Fi networks in unprepared spaces. Click image to play video.

Our focus for these donation and information programs is to equip healthcare personnel with necessary equipment as quickly as possible, and to provide simple guidelines for getting it up and running. Please contact us at the emails above if you have any questions.

For more information about programs Cisco is running to help organizations in need, please see our page, Supporting Business Continuity Amid COVID-19 Challenges, and read Three Network Challenges IT Can Solve to Drive Business Continuity.


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Gordon Thomson

Vice President

Service Provider, EMEA