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D-LINK® business network switches help Washington Hospital overcome growing pains


High Performance Switches Broaden Wireless Communications, Facilitate Medical Diagnostic and Imaging Equipment, Provide Additional Security
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — A recent expansion at Island Hospital, on Puget Sound northwest of Seattle, doubled the size of the facility but left its computer network inadequate to facilitate wireless communication devices, additional critical medical diagnostic and imaging equipment and stronger network security.

With the implementation of more than 50 switches from D-Link, the end-to-end networking solutions provider for consumer and business, Island Hospital was able to update its growing network on an affordable budget and with reliable customer support to keep the medical facility’s wheels in motion 24/7.

Opened in 1962 and ranked one of the top 100 hospitals in the country, Island Hospital in Anacortes, Washington until recently was running on a network designed 11 years ago as a flat, address-based network, built on SMC switches accommodating only 1000 Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Making the situation worse, was the implementation of the Vocera system, which required employees to wear wireless communication devices, as well as new critical medical diagnostic and imaging equipment to be added, all requiring IP addresses.

Since every user or device on a network needs an IP address, productivity began to suffer when there were only 13 IP addresses left to serve 75 employees needing the Vocera system.

The situation became acute when the existing SMC switches started to fail, which led Island Hospital’s Rick Kiser, assistant director of information systems, on a quest to replace the switches and add desperately needed port capacity to the new network. That’s when he contacted D-Link’s value-added reseller (VAR) Northwest Computer Support (NCS).

Ultimately, Island Hospital chose D-Link® xStack® DXS-3250 switches for the backbone and DXS-3227P Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches as the core of its 50-plus switch solution. The installation was performed in-house and was designed as a “star-type” topography with two head-end switches. Each data frame is a redundant circuit, to help ensure no data is lost.

“Working with the D-Link folks we designed a VLAN network. Each data frame is on its own VLAN, which gives us a lot more control over the network since we can isolate precise data frames if a virus is running around or to perform management tasks,” said Kiser.

Island Hospital began the project by setting up a dummy network, which went through a testing phase for two months. Once the VLAN was up and running and the switches configured, the IS department began to roll out the new network. Due to the nature of hospital business, the implementation needed to be gradual, as it is impossible to take the entire network offline at any time.

Another major concern was network security. With lives potentially hanging in the balance and serious regulatory compliance issues like HIPAA, a computer virus could be catastrophic. “The D-Link VLAN makes viruses one less thing to worry about,” said Kiser.

Extreme reliability also played a major role in the choice of D-Link switches, since a hospital network has to be as redundant as possible.

“We’re set up for failover,” he added. “Should any one switch fail, we only lose a few devices. And any time we’ve had a problem I call NCS and we get a replacement switch the next day. That makes me sleep better at night.”


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