2. What is the healthcare organization’s overall IT strategy?
3. Which wireless technologies are required?
4. Can the risers accommodate DAS infrastructure?
5. Is spare fiber available?
6. Which building materials are being used? For example, the use of reflective glass can keep the radio frequency of competing outdoor networks from penetrating the building.
7. Is there space for a single room with about 600 square feet where service providers can co-locate equipment? Various carriers will co-locate their base station hubs in what is called the “head end” room.
8. Is there 10 square feet of wall space in the IDF closet on each floor to accommodate DAS-related equipment?
A technology popular in after-construction situations uses existing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts to efficiently and cost-effectively distribute RF signals throughout a building. Metal HVAC ducts, which are designed to reach the entire building, are typically excellent waveguides for radio signals.
An early adopter: Simi Valley Hospital—California
Simi Valley Hospital is a world-class medical facility that employs more than 1,000 physicians and professional staff in Ventura County, California. This facility wanted improved wireless coverage and capacity. Simi Valley Hospital is a multi-story brick and concrete building with four floors covering 175,000 square feet. The goal was to provide wireless coverage for 90% of the building with open DAS technology to improve coverage and capacity for all cellular providers.
The key challenges were keeping disruptions and dust to a minimum, and ensuring that added infrastructure equipment is aesthetically pleasing.
Using less than a dozen small antennas placed in the institution’s HVAC system, the system was implemented in less than 30 days. With a minimally invasive installation process, the deployment had virtually no negative impact on workflow or delivery of healthcare. The key benefits were availability of multi-carrier service and seamless coverage throughout the facility.
Access to this indoor mobile communications network keeps doctors, emergency responders, patients, and their families connected. It also offers flexibility to meet future wireless growth and technology needs.
Innovation to use mobile technology to improve healthcare is accelerating, and this momentum will impact building plans and designs. Making sure the infrastructure for wireless network technology is a priority in the planning stages of any new facility or renovation will deliver substantial savings and efficiencies for many years to come. HBI
Jon J. Davis is Vice President, Business Development, Indoor Networks for ExteNet Systems Inc. Eric B. Abbott is Director, Product Management for ExteNet Systems Inc. For more information, please visit www.extenetsystems.com.