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Boston Medical Center Prescribes Broadband Wireless Solution to Cure Roaming and Device Integration Ailments

4/6/09 - Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARUN) announced that Boston Medical Center (BMC) has selected Aruba's adaptive 802.11n Wi-Fi solution for use throughout its 626 bed hospital and academic medical center located in Boston's historic South End. BMC's legacy 600 access point wireless network experienced repeated service interruptions that made it challenging for mobile users to have a consistent wireless experience while roaming.

Following a decision to upgrade the wireless network, a three-month pilot was launched with Aruba, Cisco, and Meru to assess the performance of wireless access to clinical data, Vocera voice devices, and guest Internet access. Evaluation criteria included network architecture, ease of deployment, reliability of operation, troubleshooting capabilities, end user experience, problem resolution, simplicity of the network management system, and suitability for the target operating environments. Aruba's solution was found to be the easiest to install and configure, consistently stable and reliable, intuitive to administrate and manage, and exceptionally cost effective. As a result Aruba was selected for the project.

"Our legacy wireless network was plagued with a number of issues including dropped connections, poor roaming capabilities, and difficult or impossible device integration," said Brad Blake, Boston Medical Center's Director of Information Technology. "The system required a lot of hands-on management to maintain, and we literally had a team of senior network engineers and field staff on-call to address wireless issues. We run a technically advanced teaching hospital with demanding wireless needs, and it was clear that we had to upgrade to a reliable, flexible, low-overhead wireless solution. Following a long and exacting technical evaluation, and after consulting with the Gartner Group, we selected Aruba because their solution positions us to reliably and securely handle all of the current and projected future wireless needs of the organization."

Aruba's Adaptive Radio Management (ARM) technology automatically optimizes Wi-Fi performance, an essential requirement in a healthcare facility's dynamically changing and challenging RF environment. By automating site surveys and using infrastructure-based controls to optimize the performance of Wi-Fi clients in real-time, ARM helps ensure that data, voice, video, telemetry, and nurse call applications all have sufficient network resources, including airtime, to operate reliably.

Identity-based security, Quality of Service (QoS) control, and traffic management capabilities are provided by Aruba's policy-enforcement firewall network. The firewall classifies on the basis of user identity, device type, location, and time of day, and provides differentiated access for different classes of users. For example, medical telemetry and nurse call traffic can be assigned a high priority and reserved bandwidth to ensure reliable delivery. Guest access might have limited bandwidth and tight controls with respect to the sites and servers that can be accessed.

These features enable data, voice, video, nurse call, telemetry, and guest traffic to simultaneously run over a shared, common Wi-Fi infrastructure but perform like isolated networks. "Aruba's solution provides us with a robust, flexible wireless infrastructure on which we can rely for a wide variety of services," continued Blake. "We can now provide a reliable and consistent experience for our clinical and business end users as well as the visiting public. We're now eager to consider additional added-value wireless solutions, such as RFID, that were previously out of consideration because the network couldn't support them."

"BMC's wireless LAN is a critical resource, and they need to depend on its availability to effectively run their business and deliver best-in-class patient care," said Lou Serlenga, Aruba's director of operations for the eastern U.S. region. "Our high-availability network will not only reliably, securely, and simultaneously support multiple applications, but it does so using infrastructure that is easy to deploy and manage. The result is a robust network that minimizes the demands on IT staff time and resources, and saves money over the life-cycle of the deployment. Given the strain on IT budgets in today's tight economy, Aruba is just what the doctor ordered."

By Robert Hoskins

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