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New Member

Microwaves in Healthcare areas

We have a widespread wireless network in patient care areas.  We use Draeger m300 wireless ekg heart monitors in many of the patient care areas.  Also there has been a growth in the number of microwave ovens in patient care areas even within individual patient rooms.  Clean Airs shows much degraded air quality around lunch time every day and we start to drop some of the ekg monitors off the network during these times.

Question:

Has anyone done any testing of microwave ovens to show particular models/manufacturers that are the best at not leaking.  My general testing of the models we have installed seems to show a large amount of interferrence even when the oven seems to be running at proper specs for leakage.

Has anyone done any "other" things to help reduce the amount of interferrence from microwave ovens. 

Biggest problem is that the Draeger produce only works on 2.4 ghz spectrum.

Any advice appriciated.

Thanks.

  • Other Wireless - Mobility Subjects
14 REPLIES

Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Hello,

I manage a large wifi network here in Houston. We have in excess of 3,000+ access points and 11,000+ wifi clients. I know your concern. A few things that can help lessen the WIFI impact.

1. If you can, look at commercial grade MW. Your run of the mill consumer grade MWs arent designed to open a close 50 to 100 times a day. The seals tend to break down quicker.

2. Take a spectrum analyizer to each MW and see where it interferes most on the 2.4 band and move your AP way off channel. For exmaple, most MW tend to live in the backend of 2.4. Each MW has an FCC tag you can also refence by visiting the FCC website to see where the MW tested.

3. Lessen the anount of MW ovens. In our case we would see a break room with 2 or more MW. Trying to limit can help as well.

4. Move your clients to 5 GHz, may not be an option for these heart monitors. Are these connected to your wifi network or their own APs?

__________________________________________________________________________________________
"Satisfaction does not come from knowing the solution, it comes from knowing why." - Rosalind Franklin
__________________________________________________________________________________________
‎"I'm in a serious relationship with my Wi-Fi. You could say we have a connection."

__________________________________________________________________________________________ "Satisfaction does not come from knowing the solution, it comes from knowing why." - Rosalind Franklin ___________________________________________________________
Hall of Fame Super Gold

Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Biggest problem is that the Draeger produce only works on 2.4 ghz spectrum.

Just to add to George's post.

You may need to talk to the manufacturer if they have any 5.0 Ghz upgrade module. 

WEP, WPA2 - Personal Mode

Had a look at the product brochure and this model's wireless component needs more work.  This is a sure sign the wireless card is one of the early generations of chip because it won't support WPA2 Enterprise level.

New Member

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

I work for a large healthcare system as well and see the number of MWs totally affecting my Clean Air percentages notably around the noon hours.  I have the same concerns and am trying to do a better job of remediating the interference but to George’s point the MWs are usually leaking at the same frequency so I have configured a 3500 in SE mode and can send them out to my field techs and have them plug it in near the MW.  Once I find out which channel it is “leaking into” I change my AP channel assignment accordingly.  Then the tech can move to another part of the hospital and keep trying to dance around the interference.  I’m finding that its more work than I thought and I only wish there was a better way to “seed” the RRM to make the change on its own rather than hard coding APs.  Which does seem to help with drops or other anomalies in the areas but does tend to create the channel change domino effect.

BTW- Our Biomed folks don’t really want to hear that from my count nearly all of their MWs are leaking.  I have asked to be involved with testing (using my roaming SE mode AP) but they tend to just keep buying the models in their ordering channels rather than doing QA testing on new models. 

Good Luck-

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Here is the another thing to throw back .. Why would they purchase a critical device like this that uses an unlicensed frequency ? Thats only asking for trouble ..

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__________________________________________________________________________________________ "Satisfaction does not come from knowing the solution, it comes from knowing why." - Rosalind Franklin ___________________________________________________________
New Member

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

I agree and we (Network) did advise against but this is the state of this technology and the direction this type of service has been taking.  I should be of no surprise we are arriving at this destination.  I am just trying to find ways to make the situation any better then it is at this point.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Why would they purchase a critical device like this

It happens, George.

In our case, the health care facillity purchased the ASCOM because the person who signed for the PO and the ASCOM agent were good friends.  The agent, literally, wined and dined his friend and the next thing everyone knew, the PO was signed.  No deliberation, no testing, no consultation. 

During the implementation, hospital staff kept complaining that the ASCOM didn't work well as "advertised".  They got a series of ASCOM "specialist" in and kept blaming Cisco.  Disabled DCA and TPC.  All power levels were set to "full power".  (Basically, ASCOM dictated that the controller-based APs behaved like autonomous AP!)

Surendra finally found out that the issue was that ASCOM was mis-behaving when transmitting in 802.11n.  ASCOM had a flaw in their firmware and everytime it hits Cisco AP, the WLC would classify the incoming ASCOM traffic as malformed and drops the packet. 

Guess what?  ASCOM still insists there was nothing wrong with their code and it was all a Cisco "fault".  Yeah, sure.  Pull my other leg son, it's got bells. 

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Better said, biomed should know better ..

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__________________________________________________________________________________________ "Satisfaction does not come from knowing the solution, it comes from knowing why." - Rosalind Franklin ___________________________________________________________
Hall of Fame Super Silver

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

The funny thing was that Biomed at these hospitals replaced the old MW for new ones that leaked even more. They said that the older ones are built better than the newer ones:) So they replaced all of them anyways.

When I can in to troubleshoot this, there was issues with the wireless, the drivers and images on the COW's and laptops, issues with some servers on the Citrix farm and of course user training issues.

So I had to sit down and mention to their team what I found. Network, Desktop Support and the Citrix Server team, who was pointing fingers at each other. Believe me, they all hated me, but at the end, they fixed the open items I recommended and the NetMotion helped with all the user complaints. Some of them were going outside to smoke and complained that they have to login to their session again. Now they can go outside and smoke, take it home, go out to lunch and come back logged in to their same session.

Now did the teams really made changes after I left.... They didn't because the NetMotion stop the user complaints. I still speak with the client and it's been like 5+ years. They migrated to an Aruba solution but still use the NetMotion.

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Thanks, Scott *****Help out other by using the rating system and marking answered questions as "Answered"*****
New Member

Re: Microwaves in Healthcare areas

Thanks for the info.  I guess I am not alone with this challenge.  I seem to get abt -20 dbm on my spectrum experts card at about 3-4 feef in front of some of their microwaves.  That is way more then I receive from any AP at that difference.

I will set up a call with the vendor of the devices to see if there are any upgrades on the way to push this to 5ghz.  It also does not help now that Hospitals are being asked to be more like Hotels with guest wifi and microwaves in the patient rooms.  This is a huge multiplier of the interferrence sources.

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