Remote-working radiologists and other key staff require access to advanced, heavy-duty clinical applications at home in order to continue caring for patients remotely. Easier said than done with a consumer grade internet service but a perfect fit for SoHo SD-WAN.
Anyone who has tried to work from home when the network connectivity is poor will know how challenging it can be to remain productive. Session freeze and general poor quality user experience can occasionally be nothing more than a frustration, but for some users, network conditions can stop them working altogether.
While many NHS staff members will require access to traditional productivity apps and services, there are a subset of users that require access to clinical applications that can push the capability of traditional home worker type network scenarios. Highly graphical applications are a typical example, where the resolution of the image is critical to the accuracy of the decisions made by clinical staff.
When Consultant Radiologists started working from home during the Covid19 outbreak, the network was immediately recognised as a threat to the quality of care that the Board could provide. The question was raised as to how could they rapidly improve the connectivity between the home and the hospital, which is when the call was made to cloudDNA, to see if the SD-WAN solution that currently connects GP surgeries to core services could be extended to the homes of these key individuals.
With a single home internet circuit in place and no time or budget to even think about installing new lines to help out, we looked straight at the small form factor Citrix SD-WAN 210 appliance. Packed with the same level of enterprise-grade features as the rest of the product portfolio, the 210 (and it’s new sibling the 110) have a built in 4G LTE modem capability to help out in exactly this type of scenario.
Bonding links for resilience and capacity
The SD-WAN solution is able to aggregate the bandwidth available across the physical and radio circuits – effectively adding the broadband and 4G together to create a single communication path back to the core. This higher capacity allows the image data to flow more freely between the locations, improving resolution and reducing the risk of error from misinformation in the work of medical professionals.
In addition, the stability of the connectivity has also significantly increased, as the effects of packet loss and poor stability on the internet circuit can be mitigated by the intelligent use of the 4G path. When it comes to service uptime, the result can be very much greater than the sum of the parts with initial testing showing a significant increase in service stability.
Not forgetting security
Despite its small form factor, the 210 comes with an ICSA-certified firewall built into the appliance. This effectively provides a mechanism to protect the new extended edge of the WAN and provide further control to allow approved cloud-based services (such as Office 365 and Teams) to be consumed directly from the home location without the need to travel back to the data centre for traditional internet breakout at the core – reducing latency and improving user experience without compromising security. With a final configuration to ensure that only trusted devices can access the WAN, the solution is in final testing phase before being rolled out across the wide power user base.
Secure, seamless remote access for critical key workers – DONE! 😊
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