UPGRADED WIFI NETWORK FOR CUTTING EDGE NURSING HOME
In April 2016, Business I.T. Solutions were contacted by Ryevale Nursing Home to assist on a project to upgrade the Wi-Fi throughout the building. At close proximity to technology giants, Intel Inc., Ryevale had been beneficiaries of Intel’s generosity to the local community and as a result were early adopters of Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi has been available to residents in this nursing home for over 10 years! Ryevale are very tech-savvy and current in their use of technology, in a sector not typically associated with using cutting edge tech.
As is inevitably the way with technology, their Wi-Fi eventually became dated. After 10 years of solid performance it began to under-perform with devices reaching end of life and an increasing amount of “black spots” throughout the building.
The switches and access points were all Cisco products. The main issues facing the new project were the following:
- The Cisco switches as well as the access points all needed to be upgraded because they could not support current standard speeds and technologies.
- While there was a lot of cabling in place, not all areas were serviced as the building and the requirements had evolved in the 10 years since the first Wi-Fi network went in.
- The original network had no provision of splitting the network between the residents and staff. With more and more residents and their families using the Wi-Fi, this needed to be secured.
- Ryevale is an active and fully populated nursing home, with a huge range of residents and busy staff. This project needed to be done with the minimum of down time and/or disruptions. The care of and respect for the residents needed to be of primary concern at all times.
- The building itself is a solid build with reinforced concrete and fire doors throughout.
- The building’s shape and the location of the site itself made bouncing a signal around very challenging.
- Budget is always a factor. Ryevale were happy to consider alternative hardware to Cisco, if the cost and performance matched up.
BITS met with the IT Manager on the site, Karen O’Hara. With Karen having a strong background in IT herself, it was a meeting of minds and the scope of the project was very clear:
“We wanted Wi-Fi everywhere if we could have it, but there was a limit to what we could spend too. We needed a partner who could strike a healthy balance between giving us as close to full coverage as possible within a budget. BITS delivered on that.”
Karen O’Hara, IT Manager, Ryevale Nursing Home
Ryevale were able to supply detailed drawings of the building and also had the bonus of a site electrician with valuable insights into the structured cabling options. With this support, BITS came up with a plan that gave Ryevale exactly what they wanted.
BITS marked the drawings of the building with the exact appropriate spots for maximum coverage, the cables were laid by the site electrician, and the BITS engineers did the rest.
As part of the project, BITS upgraded the backbone of the network. The existing hardware was of good quality but unfortunately it was very dated. BITS took the opportunity of the Wi-Fi upgrade to replace the switches on the network with high speed, PoE devices, thereby speeding up the LAN as well as broadening the Wi-Fi coverage. This also removed the need for power outlets to each access point. In a nursing home, the aesthetics of the environment is important, and the more attractive access points, coupled with no visible cabling, meant the system blended well with the décor. No more unsightly antennae or plugs.
In addition, as part of this aspect of the project, BITS upgraded the router, enabling a split on the network, so the admin and staff side of the business could rest assured that residents and their guests had no access to the business side. In an environment where data is sensitive and potentially valuable to cyber-criminals, the security and protection of that data is paramount.
This hardware upgrade used competitively priced Ubiquity hardware throughout – providing professional grade networking performance at prices businesses can afford.
BITS developed and implemented a project plan that took all requirements into consideration and delivered on time and within budget. Using Ubiquity hardware for the Wi-Fi network, BITS were able to create a split in the network, with advanced firewall settings, securing access between the residents and the staff and all at a very competitive price.
“Planning and management with the BITS team was a simple and organised process. Engineers on site for installation were very friendly and co-operative and got the job done effectively with no disruptions in a timely manner. After care support was exceptional, members of the BITS team were on hand at the end of a phone call or email with a prompt response resolving any queries. I would highly recommend BITS to any business looking for an upgrade or addition to their Network Infrastructure.” –
Karen O’Hara, IT Manager, Ryevale Nursing Home