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DAS in Healthcare: A Must-Have

By Mike Collado
February 13th, 2012

In our recent series of posts that focus on the healthcare market in our lead-up to HIMSS12, we have explored the wireless world within the hospital that is driving the need for Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to provide coverage throughout every nook and cranny in the building or buildings.

We have seen how the approach to DAS has evolved from a standalone model in which each wireless operator installed separate infrastructure to solve coverage problems to a single, “neutral host” DAS platform that provides coverage for multiple services including commercial wireless, public safety, private two-way radio and paging.

Next, we dissected the DAS to show how it works and listed key considerations for selecting a solution capable of addressing current and future requirements.

Today, we’ll examine trends that forecast a “perfect storm” of challenges healthcare CIOs will need to rapidly address.

Unbridled Mobile Growth & Demand

In a recent report, Cisco Systems cites staggering statistics:

  • Global mobile data traffic grew 2.6-fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row
  • Mobile devices generated three times more traffic last year than the entire Internet in the year 2000
  • Global mobile data traffic will more than double in every year from 2010 to 2014

 

To be sure, healthcare is the most intense mobile environment you can have. This is a wireless and mobile environment where patients and clinicians are moving from one department to another 24 x 7 x 365. Not your typical office environment.

Construction Isn’t Wireless-Friendly

LEED Buildings foster “green” energy savings but wreak havoc on wireless coverage.

The key components of LEED include energy cost savings using reflective glass and materials to keep the cold and heat out of the building to reduce the carbon footprint. In the process, this type of construction acts also as big reflector that keeps the outdoor macro cellular, PCS, and Public Safety Signals from entering the building.

Other new construction methods such as metal pan concrete poured construction prevent the indoor wireless signal from penetrating floor to floor.

On top of that, hospitals have lead-lined walls in radiology and other departments which further block wireless signals on a single floor.

So, when you consider that LEED Buildings currently have a growth rate of 14% year over year and that, by 2020, all new residential and commercial buildings will be built using sustainable design practices equivalent to LEED silver standards, the problem becomes acute.

The Perfect Storm

According to Scott Goodrich at Cellular Specialties (CSI), nearly 80% of voice and data communications occurs inside a building.

Consider that almost all physicians carry 3G and 4G devices. They are truly mobile workers who move from their home, to their car, to their office and to the hospital.

The mobile device is their total communications device that must work, well, everywhere.

But Wait, There’s More

Data – not voice – is now the preferred method of communication. And through the introduction of LTE, the majority of mobile and tablet devices are LTE-ready.

Because LTE is an IP-based network, the in-building challenge is now no longer just about coverage but capacity.

The Case For DAS

An intense mobile environment that operates 24x7x365. LEED construction. Unique hospital construction. LTE.

Put simply, healthcare is the most active industry for deploying DAS networks.

Let’s Meet at HIMSS12

SOLiD and our Partners will be on-hand to discuss DAS solutions and best-practices. Please share a comment below, send email to info(at)solidtechusa(dot)com or call 888-409-9997.

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