Recommendations for Hospital Network Connectivity – The Power of PoE

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Guest Author: Francois Durand, Product Application Engineer, Network Connectivity

My last blog discussed the importance of high capacity network connectivity in healthcare facilities. With internet applications being so ingrained in our everyday lives, hospitals need a network infrastructure that can keep up with patient, staff, and visitor demands – and slow networks can even have catastrophic effects on patient care. Hospital teams need to take into account both current and future needs when considering an IT upgrade or building a new facility from the ground up. At Schneider Electric, we recommend that healthcare facilities adopt Category 6A network cables and connectors. With a transmission capacity of up to 10 gigabits per second, Category 6A cables have the unique capacity to keep up with the data needs of today’s hospitals, ensuring that the hospital can maintain a fast and reliable network connection. More importantly, a hospital that can seamlessly transmit information in today’s digital world is a safer and more efficient one.

Hospital Network Connectivity

The other major benefit of adopting Category 6A cables is their support for Power over Ethernet, or PoE. PoE allows electronic devices to receive both power and data through one Ethernet plug-in. The ability to receive both power and data through one cord means less cabling and less cost for the hospital. With Wi-Fi being more than 18 years old at this point, many are pointing to PoE as the next big thing in network connectivity.

PoE is still a developing technology. Right now it only supports 25.5W of electricity, which limits what appliances can be powered over Ethernet – mostly small appliances like laptops and VOIP phones. However, experts predict that by 2017 the PoE standard will jump to 100W of energy, a substantial leap forward. This means that larger pieces of equipment like building automation devices, lighting systems, presence detection systems and HVAC temperature controls can be powered using this technology. Imagine the impact this could have in a hospital setting?

While PoE still won’t be able to support most medical equipment, it represents a significant increase in capacity. Facility managers need to pay attention to these advances now so they’re ready to implement when the time is right. Adopting 6A cables today is the logical first step in making network adjustments to meet the new age of digital technology.

In our next post, we’ll outline how increased network capacity benefits a wide range of hospital stakeholders including patients, staff and executives. For a closer look into the impact that PoE will have on the future of connectivity, download our whitepaper here. Or, for more information, contact Francois Durand.

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