Securing Wireless Networks for Hospital Wards

Challenges Faced in Hospital Network

Today, many hospitals wards have been implemented with wireless network infrastructures for healthcare uses. By leveraging the concepts of IoT (Internet of Things) to connect medical devices and patient data to the cloud, medical staff can optimize their efficiency while reducing unnecessary workloads when traveling around wards. In fact, a fast-growing reliance on connected healthcare devices has been observed in hospitals in both developing and developed nations.

Indeed, connected healthcare instruments like mobile nursing stations, mobile clinical assistant tablet, bedside infotainment terminals and connected medical sensors have greatly improved administration efficiency by bridging the gaps between doctors/nurses and patient data, thanks to IoT applications. On the other hands, due to uses of laptops, smartphones and mobile tablets by patients and their visitors, a substantial amount of wireless network traffic is often observed in hospital wards. While providing benefits and convenience, the implementation of Wi-Fi networks presents a new aspect of security vulnerability.

Commercial Wi-Fi routers deployed in hospital wards are frequently found with significant vulnerabilities that provide easy targets for hackers to intrude critical data. This will cause risks and threats to privacy and data security as hospitals possess crucial information. Therefore, it is necessary to deploy a wireless gateway controller with security commands to ensure safe network.

The Requirements

When medical facilities are wirelessly connected, security loopholes will appear. In fact, ensuring hospital network security is a challenging task as hospitals require economical solutions for their wide coverage, while outstanding connectivity and reliable security are demanded. There are several characteristics to consider about the deployable solution:

Wi-Fi Connectivity

The solution must be able to offer wireless network connectivity namely Wi-Fi specifications to ensure and manage the wireless traffic flow. In addition, since many of the medical devices today are wirelessly connected, it is necessary for the solution to connect to other medical sensors, such as vitals (blood pressure, pulses and temperature) through Wi-Fi network for data-to-cloud applications.

Security Features

The solution must be designed and engineered with security instruction sets as ensuring safe information is the top priority.

Multiple I/O Connections

The ideal solution shall come with display output for digital signage to show news, service information updates and other related happenings about hospitals. HDMI is the more preferred option as it delivers higher resolution than other types of display outputs. Moreover, the solution should be designed with multiple LAN ports for data streaming and gateway control with bedside information devices.

Compact Form Factor and Fanless Design

Since most of the spaces in hospital wards are reserved for patients, their belongings and medical instruments, the solution must be built in compact form factor. Also, the solution must be fanless because hospitals have to remain in a high level of quietness.

Time-To-Market

It would be ideal that the solution is designed with a scalable processing core and a compatible architecture to communicate with external devices, in order to provide a time-to-market platform instantly deployable.

Lanner’s Solution

Compared to commercial wireless network router, NCA-1010 feature compact size, advanced security features and rich I/O connectivity, making it an optimal choice for the issue discussed above.

Desktop Network AppliancesLanner’s newly introduced NCA-1010 comes in a highly compact form factor, with a size of two smartphones at dimensions of only 124.26 x 19.4 x 119.66 mm. The small form factor allows it to be deployed in any corner of a hospital ward since this type of environment is usually packed with basic furniture setting, nursing medical cart and various medical instruments.

Featuring low-powered Intel® Atom™ E3815 (codenamed Bay Trail) SoC architecture, NCA-1010 offers satisfying processing power and advanced security function. This SoC is pre-programmed with Intel® AES-NI and Secure Boot. These hardware-assisted features ensure endpoint and content protection, while only allowing chosen software to run on NCA-1010. This feature will make sure security is addressed properly. Since hospital information is often confidential, NCA-1010 provides another security measure by offering TPM (Trusted Platform Module) design. The micro module incorporates cryptographic keys to reinforce NCA-1010 in security management.

Connectivity wise, NCA-1010 also comes with rich I/O settings. To link to networking devices around the hospital wards, this device provides 3 RJ-45 Ethernet LAN ports and a mini-PCIe expansion socket for Wi-Fi module insertion. To establish connections with peripheral devices, NCA-1010 offers one USB2.0 port, one USB3.0 port and a HDMI port for Full HD digital signage display.

Together with compact size, rich I/O, as well as powerful Intel processor with enhanced security features, NCA-1010 is an ideally deployable solution to manage the network flow in hospital wards and it is a conveniently time-to-market platform.

Securing Wireless Networks for Hospital Wards was last modified: January 14th, 2020 by LEI Technology