Baycrest Centre switches to Aruba Wireless Networks for secure support of mobile voice and data applications

San Jose 01 March 2004Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, a recognized expert in geriatric research and provider of specialized health services for the elderly, has replaced their distributed legacy wireless environment with Aruba's centralized wireless LAN switching system to support mobile data and voice connectivity throughout its multi-building campus in Toronto, Canada.


Baycrest has initially deployed Aruba's signature 5000 modular Wi-Fi switching system in its data centre along with 50 Aruba 802.11a+b/g access points (APs) to support its electronic health record (EHRs) initiative that lets client care staff access patient records from anywhere on campus. Baycrest also required an enabling wireless infrastructure to support emerging technologies such as 802.11 patient monitoring devices and RFID.

To ensure secure connectivity, Baycrest mandates the use of IPSEC virtual private networks (VPN) for access into the network. To add another layer of wireless security, Baycrest utilizes Aruba's integrated user-aware firewall capabilities to allow only specific user IPSEC traffic into the corporate intranet.

With Aruba's wireless LAN switching system, Baycrest staff can now better access critical information at the point of care to meet client needs faster, reduce errors and identify trends and outbreaks earlier to offer a higher level of care for Baycrest clients.

Baycrest staff uses wireless-enabled PC carts for computer physician order entry (CPOE) and bedside charting. Baycrest's wireless environment also supports the Centre's students and staff. As an academic health sciences centre, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest Centre trains more than 900 students and interns each year. With the Aruba Wi-Fi switching system, students have the flexibility to access training materials in conference rooms and on student rounds. Baycrest also plans to use the wireless network to provide VoIP over wireless services to staff.

Previously, Baycrest deployed a legacy environment of "fat" access points connected to their existing wired network. Each fat AP had to be individually configured and logically managed within a single VLAN. This deployment proved to be difficult to manage, hard to scale and expensive to operate.

"We simply needed a better way to deploy, manage and scale a large wireless network and found our existing distributed system riddled with operational overhead", stated Wayne Harris, Manager, Technical Services at Baycrest Centre. "With Aruba, I can now manage SSIDs, define user policies, create wireless VLANs, and dynamically calibrate AP channel and power settings for the entire environment from a single point."

Wayne Harris noted that, given Aruba's five-year depreciation cycle, Baycrest required a wireless system that reduced total cost of ownership. "Aruba's Wi-Fi switching system is designed to allow us to upgrade our environment when new standards emerge or new wireless services are created. So our TCO for wireless with Aruba has been radically reduced", he stated.

Baycrest's decision to standardize on a centralized wireless LAN system reflects a growing enterprise trend away from deploying Wi-Fi as a feature on fixed wired networks toward building mobile wireless overlays that are designed to understand user identity and location.

"Wired networks understand TCP ports and IP addresses and assume users are physically plugged into an Ethernet jack that doesn't move", stated Wayne Harris. "Wireless networks should be predicated on mobility with an inherent understanding of user identity, location and presence."

"Enterprises are quickly discovering that 802.11 network architecture more closely reflects today's cellular networks than merely plugging a cordless phone into the public switched telephone network", stated Keerti Melkote, co-founder and vice president of Marketing at Aruba Wireless Networks. "Cellular networks must know who you are and where you are in order to provide the appropriate services. Enterprise Wi-Fi networks should be viewed and constructed from the same perspective."

Founded in February 2002, Aruba Wireless Networks is a privately held wireless networking company based in San Jose, California. The company is credited with developing the world's first enterprise-class Wi-Fi switching system that lets corporations lock the air, automate the deployment of large-scale Wi-Fi networks and ensure seamless mobility by a variety of different users. Aruba Wireless Networks has received $31 million in two rounds of venture funding. Investors include Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and Trinity Ventures. Aruba is the only company today that offers a complete range of Wi-Fi switching products including modular and stackable Wi-Fi switches, 802.11 a+b/g access points, RF probes and advanced RF management software tools.

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care provides a range of residential, day programmes and specialized services for the elderly of the Greater Toronto Area and is a recognized expert in research into brain functioning and mental health. The Centre offers programmes onsite and in the home, as well as providing individuals and families with counseling, education and referrals. The Centre is a fully affiliated teaching institution with the University of Toronto. More than 200 Baycrest staff members have academic appointments at the University and other educational institutions. In addition, more than 900 students from universities, colleges, high schools and technical institutes receive educational training at Baycrest each year.

Leslie Versweyveld

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