New Wi-Fi Alliance White Paper on Improving Connectivity for Wi-Fi Enabled Medical Device

Fri, 06/07/2013 - 10:58

The Wi-Fi Alliance® (WFA) recently published a white paper on improving the user experience for medical devices that use Wi-Fi® to connect to hospital networks.  As with two previous WFA healthcare white papers (here and here), Laird Technologies was a major contributor.

The latest white paper discusses industry best practices that hospital IT professionals should follow when designing and managing their Wi-Fi networks. While most hospitals already have Wi-Fi infrastructures in place for computing devices, those infrastructures must adapt to support wireless medical devices. Since medical devices are directly involved with patient wellness, it is critical that Wi-Fi traffic from wireless medical devices is prioritized over general-purpose Wi-Fi traffic, such as that from patients’ phones and doctors’ personal devices.

As is described in the white paper, one way for hospital IT managers to grant wireless medical devices the highest Wi-Fi priority is by using quality of service (QoS) techniques based upon Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM®). WMM enables network managers to decide which streams of data are the most important and assign them a higher traffic priority than other non-essential wireless traffic, like patients’ computing devices.

WMM is just one tool in an IT manager’s arsenal. The Wi-Fi Alliance white paper goes into detail on the "Wi-Fi network life cycle" and the key steps that hospital IT managers should take. These steps are:

  1. Consider device requirements
  2. Determine RF design by considering wireless coverage and capacity
  3. Configure Wi-Fi infrastructure and connected devices
  4. Test, test, test
  5. Conduct network maintenance, monitoring, and change control

Stay tuned for more blog posts on the latest white paper and related topics.