Guest Wireless: Balancing Access and Risk

Bill Halpin Blog, Wireless Leave a Comment

Two of the biggest technology requirements are often at odds: security and access. As you open the doors to access by providing wireless Internet – and ability to use personal devices – to contractors, staff and guests, you run the risk of also opening the door to security threats or undermining your established networks and infrastructure. Add in the additional challenge of deploying a dedicated guest wireless system without interfering with current wireless systems or day-to-day operations, and you have a complicated scenario that requires expertise and a precise solution.

Solving the Challenge

The Hampton VA Medical Center recently came to Red River with just this problem. They needed to provide patients and guests in their primary and remote facilities with wireless Internet access, but did not want to interfere with established infrastructure or violate FIPS and HIPPA compliance.

As with any guess wireless project, our experts conducted an initial site survey to pinpoint the exact requirements and current wireless capabilities. Working closely with Hampton VAMC, Red River designed a dedicated Veterans Service Network (VSN) that covers several outlying facilities and can be central managed from the primary Hampton VA location.

Red River did all of the heavy lifting for this project, managing all on-site cabling, equipment installation, hardware and software integration. We also provided complete coverage maps of the system design, as well as the installation design and testing of the VSN solution at each individual site.

With the VSN, Red River achieved the balance between access and security the VAMC needed: It eliminated interference with the clinical wireless network, enabled content filtering, balanced bandwidth and maximized flexibility with a scalable solution.

Integration is the Key

The primary reason Hampton VAMC’s guest wireless deployment was so successful boils down to Red River’s integrated approach. Sure, the team gets guest wireless, but we also understand data production, regulatory compliance, process management and information assurance, all of which are essential in today’s security landscape. That is why any guest wireless solution is designed in collaboration with our security experts.

We also recognize that this is likely not an essential, mission-critical aspect part of your operations, nor is it an effort that should burden your internal resources or budget. To that end, Red River provides 24/7/365 monitoring, maintenance and management from our Network Operations Center to simplify – or even eliminate – your internal maintenance requirements for guest wireless. Many of our customers, including Hampton VAMC, utilize Red River’s Professional and Managed Services, to get the most out of their investment in guest wireless.

As wireless connectivity becomes more of an expected service, businesses, hospitals and medical centers, government agencies and others will be forced to wrestle with the ongoing challenge of providing access while mitigating risk. Doing so with a trusted, experienced partner like Red River can ensure data, system and network integrity is maintained at all times, while enhancing the guest experience. Rather than devoting internal resources to a non-essential project, you can optimize your solution with an integrated approach that actually extends resources and capabilities, delivers a significantly improved patient and guest experience and keeps compliance in mind every step of the way.

Read the complete Hampton VAMC guest wireless success story here, share your guest wireless concerns in the comments section below, and contact us to learn how Red River can enable guest wireless for your patients, contractors and guests.


About the Author

Bill Halpin is System Integration Architect for Red River with over 28 years’ experience designing, implementing and estimating costs of LANs, wireless networks, WANs and structured cabling systems for voice and data networks. Halpin brings a strong understanding of network protocols and topologies to the Red River Technical Services team and has extensive expertise in wireless networking , VoIP and data center infrastructure.

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