which access point is better for hospital environments?

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Apr 29th, 2009
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I have a customer in hospital, who requires to have wireless deployed everywhere. The fact is , customer is budget concious, so I designed in such a way to place it in corridors , so that wireless coverage could get inside the rooms, but the doors are fire-proof which blocks RF .

What are the best practices in deploying AP's in hospital, for eg: is it safe to install AP's next to Medical Imaging Room or other devices which may cause interference

Which model is suitable for this sort of installation?



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wklang Wed, 04/29/2009 - 09:49
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I work for a large network of hospitals here in Northern California. We deploy the 1131 in all our hospitals and MOBs. They blend into the white cielings and we don't get complaints about them since they are below the ceiling. We typically design for RFID and VoIP in our deployments in the hospital. So we stay away from putting all the APs down a hallway. We typically place them 1100-1200 sq ft apart all over the hospital. We deploy then in the OR, Imaging rooms, etc. We have thousands of the 1131s deployed and use it as our standard. I hope this helps.

aaron7181 Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:07
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Thanks a lot for quick response. Couple of queries

1. On your experience, how do you deploy 1131 series AP on patient wards, will it placed in corridor so that it could give coverage for 3 - 4 rooms , or individual AP's in each room.

2. If placed in corridor, can 1131 AP's penetrate through fire proof doors?



wklang Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:24
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In our experience, we place the APs in a triangle formation. One AP in a room will cover the ajacent room and possible a room or two across the hall. Placing APs in the hallway we saw large overlaps in coverage because there is nothing in the hallway to stop the bleed over of each AP. This gives great coverage in the hallway but puts holes into the patient rooms.

Placing the AP is more of an art form and not a science. Higher density may be required depending on how many devices plan on using wireless. What type of applications are using the wireless network may require a different layout as well. Are you allowing a GuestNet to be deployed?

Deploying in patient rooms is not easy, but our cable vendor enjoys the challenge. :) Once cable is run to the room, the installation of an AP only takes couple minutes.

Are you using WLC or WiSMs in your deployment?

aaron7181 Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:49
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Hello Mr.Lang,

Thanks again for your quick response. Presently its WisM deployed and mainly applications used would be HMS[Hospital Management S/W] and VoIP.

My concern is I have limited number of AP's and customer requires coverage and I have tested with a 1241 AP on the corridor, with the door closed, i would get the connectivity only as 2/5 range.



Robert.N.Barrett_2 Wed, 04/29/2009 - 15:40
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My mom was just in a large hospital last week, and I noticed that they were using 1242's with the Cisco ceiling mount diversity omni. The 1242's were in locked enclosures above the ceiling (not visible). The only visible clue as to the AP's location was the antenna. I only noticed the actual AP's when I wandered into a section of the hospital that was being renovated.

Do you have any tools that will let you simulate coverage so that you can compare the coverage data you gathered against hypothetical 1131 placement? You really want to try and validate the coverage, whichever route you take.

Leo Laohoo Wed, 04/29/2009 - 16:29
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Please consider in your budget for a Wireless LAN Site Survey. WLAN Site Survey will allow you to better understand WHERE to deploy your AP's and HOW MANY AP's to deploy. When deploying an AP, also bear in mind for AP failures. You can address this issues with either keeping "spare" stocks or putting additional AP's per floor so when an AP would fail, the WLC will calculate and increase the transmission power to cover the loss of an AP.

In regards to what models to buy, I'd recommend looking at the 1140 or the 1250. These AP's are geared up for Draft N (2.0 Ratified).

For AP's that are geared up for 802.11N (Draft 2.0):

Data Sheet Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Point


Data Sheet Cisco Aironet 1250 Series Access Point Data Sheet


If you are going to choose the 1250, note that the Antennaes are optional. Here's some information regarding them.

Antenna Product Portfolio for Cisco Aironet 1250 Series Access Points


The AP1250, when operating with 2 radio modules on Autonomous IOS, requires a minimum of 18.5 watts (ePoE). So you'll need either a Power Injector or PoE switch that will support enhanced PoE such as the 3560-E or 3750-E.

Cisco Nurse Connect Solution


Hope this helps.

Leo Laohoo Wed, 04/29/2009 - 19:20
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Hi Sid,

If you are interested in RFID, Aeroscout has a number of products geared for the Healthcare industry (http://www.aeroscout.com/content/healthcare).

Aeroscout is also a partner with Cisco regarding RFIDs and Wireless LAN.

Hope this helps.


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