Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a scalable, cost-effective, and efficient networking solution for the 21st century. There are plenty of useful applications for PoE technology in the healthcare industry, especially when coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT). Rather than having to install both a power and data cable for every device on the network, Powered Devices (PDs) can be operated with just a single PoE cable. PoE – despite its many benefits – still suffers from its own limitations as well. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the problems PoE aims to solve, and some of the PoE challenges in the healthcare industry along the way.
Networking Obstacles in the Healthcare IndustryThe healthcare industry faces many obstacles, specifically with regards to IT and networking. Today, IT personnel in the healthcare industry are tasked with:
- Ensuring patient privacy
- Using energy efficient hardware
- Leverage technology for a competitive advantage
- Boost overall network performance
Healthcare PoE SolutionsLuckily, PoE solves many of the problems listed above. Power over Ethernet is a powerful tool – it is scalable, flexible, efficient, secure, and best of all, it’s cheaper than traditional networking alternatives.Moreover, PoE can solve many of the networking issues healthcare facilities are facing today, especially when coupled with the power of IoT.
SecurityA managed PoE switch can be used to set up IP security and surveillance cameras, Wireless Access Points (WAPs) and VoIP telephones. Additionally, many managed switches can be used to create secure VLANs, which are more secure than a traditional network. Since VLANs segment a network, they create several different broadcast domains, each of which permits isolated traffic to each domain. Simultaneously, the network’s bandwidth, availability, and security are increased.
Energy EfficiencyPoE switches and PoE hubs can be used to monitor, reduce and control power usage, offering network administrators a huge opportunity to easily reduce energy consumption and, as a consequence, cut costs as well.
FlexibilityLike many other settings, flexibility is crucial when it comes to networking. Since PoE-enabled computers, WAPs, IP Cameras, and other PDs don’t need to be connected to a power outlet, they can be installed in any location where they are needed. Furthermore, moving a PoE computer proves equally painless.
IoT TechnologyIoT is also becoming ever more prevalent in the healthcare industry. For example, IoT based medical devices – such as an infusion pump, also known as a smart pump – are being used to administer medication without the presence of a doctor or a nurse. Electronic patient monitors are another prime example of IoT applications in healthcare. All of these IoT devices can be easily powered and operated via PoE.
PoE LimitationsEvidently, PoE has a whole host of benefits – it is a scalable, reliable, and efficient way to establish a secure network in a healthcare setting.Unfortunately, even PoE technology has its limitations. Here are some of PoE’s main drawbacks:
Installation CostEven though PoE is cheaper than traditional networking methods in the long run, healthcare facilities will still have to bear the brunt of the initial installation cost. An old network relying on non-PoE switches would have to either:
- Trash their existing infrastructure and reoutfit their network with PoE compatible switches
- Install PoE hubs to continue using their existing infrastructure