At a glance:
A world-class medical non-profit was being held back by wireless network they’d long outgrown. We put them back in the race with a network so responsive they’ll forget it’s there.
Lions VisionGift was contending with a challenge most businesses can relate to: slow, spotty Internet access. That’s never a good thing, but when you’re operating a state-of-the-art eye bank that sends donated tissue around the world for clinical and research use, it’s an even greater challenge.
The poor coverage area of greatest concern was the “clean room,” where technicians carry out time-sensitive procedures with the tissue itself. Waiting for a page to load is irritating in any situation; here it could actually delay a vision-saving transplant.
Only slightly less frustrating was the fact that, as a medical non-profit, LVG sometimes hosted high-profile doctors and donors—and having to tell visiting VIPs they’ll need to stand by the window if they want Wi-Fi might dampen the hoped-for impression of professionalism.
Finally, their unreliable wireless made it difficult to provide online application support between LVG’s Portland and Boston offices—issues that should have been fixable remotely instead required a costly in-person visit.
Seeking a partner with the expertise to turn their creaky network into a tank-solid framework so fail-proof they’d forget it was there, they called on us.
Solutions: Analysis, Recommendations and Strategy
The first step was to get a complete picture of LVG’s needs. This meant talking to stakeholders, visiting the location to manually survey and inventory everything on their network, and creating a detailed heatmap of wireless coverage strength throughout the facility.
The circumstances added more complexity to our planning: Not only would we have to retool the network, we’d have to do it while observing LVG’s COVID protocols—and without interfering with their ongoing work.
After a full review, we recommended adding several new WAPs (wireless access points—think Wi-Fi hotspots) and replacing the existing ones with a newer, more powerful type with greater reach and better application management.
We also suggested upgrading their cabling for greater bandwidth and better fire resistance. Finally, we encouraged them to substantially upgrade their Internet bandwidth speeds.
Solutions: Action and Implementation
With a green light from LVG to proceed, we began to put the plan into action.
Using the detailed equipment inventory and site map, we were able to give precise instructions to the tech about where the improved cabling would run and what equipment—by quantity and by make—was being replaced.
We also ensured that COVID protocols were followed and that LVGs operations wouldn’t be interrupted, as agreed, all while keeping the customer informed during each stage of the process.
Once the new hardware was in place, we confirmed it was correctly connected, testing and toning each cable to be sure. We also double-checked that the data equipment was properly configured and wouldn’t need further programming.
Throughout, we ensured that the physical installation was well-documented, carefully recording—in text and in photos—rack positions and port locations in the data room for the benefit of future techs. Finally, we double-checked the new wireless-coverage heatmap and turned over all this documentation to the customer.
LVG’s wireless connection problems—and the delays to the organization’s crucial work they once caused—are now a distant memory. Employees and guests alike can connect to a faster Internet with ease throughout the facility. The staff’s productivity (and mood) have risen accordingly.
At an operational level, the improvements have allowed support staff to manage WAPs remotely, monitoring traffic and pulling usage reports as needed. This makes the network more stable (and standards-compliant), and the improved security frees LVG from worry about being unprepared.