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NHS Cumbria - Wireless Network Case Study

The North Cumbria Informatics Service currently provides IT and Networking services to the following NHS Trusts in North Cumbria:

  • Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (Mental Health and Learning Disabilities)
  • NHS Cumbria (Primary Care Teaching Trust)
  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (Acute Hospitals)

Traditionally, where wireless connectivity has been required a basic wireless network model has been installed with autonomous access points deployed to provide access for users only within specific locations.

It was acknowledged that this model was limited and unable to deliver the emerging hospital requirements for secure and seamless access to online data applications by roaming users, Intrusion Detection Systems, converged telephony (Voice over IP) and location aware services for asset tracking.

A number of wireless site surveys had been carried out, which indicated that careful design of any new service would be essential to maximise the wireless coverage. The site survey also identified that the number of wireless Access Points (APs) required and their location will determine the functionality of the wireless network, i.e. basic wireless access requires the lowest number and widest spread of AP’s, adding telephony increases the number of AP’s and asset tracking requires that even more AP’s are deployed to cater for the extra capacity required.

Insight Direct UK Ltd responded to the tender process in January 2010 as the Prime Contractor operating as a lot 1 reseller under the IT Goods and Services Framework Agreement. PW Wireless Networks acted as the subcontractor with the necessary experience to design, install and support the proposed wireless network.

PW Wireless Networks are registered by Insight UK with Buying Solutions as a subcontractor, who are listed on the Buying Solutions website.

Wireless LAN - The Solution

Following the formal tender process in January 2010, the contract was awarded to Insight Direct UK Ltd, and PW Wireless Networks. A "Proof of Concept" pilot was installed at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, with the longer term intention to supersede the current wireless network across the whole of the infrastructure.

The Pilot environment was designed to provide highly resilient services for a range of users, on a 24x7x365 basis. The solution also included the facility for centralised enterprise management, and was completely scalable to allow for future incremental growth to fit in with the broader IT strategy of the Trust.

The Wireless LAN had three clear design goals, to support the following services:

Data Services
for a variety of Portable computers (e.g. laptop, net-book, tablet or PDA) to access computer systems such as Pharmacy, Results Reporting, etc.
Converged Telephony
(Voice over IP, Video Conferencing) using either a PC based system, or a wireless multi function handset such as Tandberg, Ascom etc.
Real Time Location Services
to locate expensive equipment (Asset Tracking) and for locating people using "man down" alarm technology.

The proposed Trapeze "NonStop Wireless" technology, is ideally suited to deliver services across these 3 key core requirements, and to illustrate the benefits of the Trapeze solution, we can break down the technology features into 4 main business benefits as follows:

Intelligent switching forwards voice traffic in a distributed fashion along the shortest path. This being from access point to access point rather than through the central controller. As a result, network latency is reduced, enabling large scale VoWLAN deployments. Users can also maintain connection while roaming and devices remain connected at all times for optimum efficiency.
The unique "cluster" approach to the architecture, allows Controllers to back each other up across the wireless domain (from both data centres), which enhances the reliability of the wireless solution.
The solution is compatible and fully operational with existing investments in access security (802.1x) and Active Directory. This means that the wireless network can be secured without expensive additional security. Resulting in secure, yet simple wireless access.
Ringmaster was the first system to import site plans to provide accurate planning for the placement of access points. It still leads the market in planning radio frequencies for networks supporting real-time applications such as telephony and Real Time Location Services, as required by the Trust. Ringmaster can simply manage the whole wireless domain across all locations from wherever the IT team members are located.

PW Wireless Networks provide a range of wireless solutions to meet the challenges faced by their customers. These include indoor WiFi networks for factories, hotels, hospitals, offices, schools, warehouses, and Mesh networks for outdoor coverage. We supply Location based services, for asset tracking via the wireless network, and we can provide a wireless access control management system (MDAC) to allow guests and employees to self connect to the wireless network under automatic user and device restrictions.

As with all our solutions, we provide a 100% satisfaction - money back guarantee, to give you full confidence in choosing us as your supplier.

If you would like any further information regarding our services, please call 01925 751638 or email