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Imperial Healthcare is an Acute NHS Trust with over 12,000 employees, providing care for around a million people every year, in five hospitals including St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Hammersmith. It also offers a growing number of community services in North West London.
Rapid developments in healthcare technology over the last few years have greatly improved the medical outcomes for patients across a wide range of conditions. The associated increase in data bandwidth to support these new and expanding services has placed a growing demand on the Trust’s IT infrastructure.
Set against a backdrop of continuing pressure to reduce its operational budget, the trust decided to take a radically different approach to the way it delivered IT services. Yusuf Mangera, Technical Architect, Imperial Healthcare Trust explains:
“Our existing network was based on 10 G/bits leased lines between each of our three main sites. These were now proving expensive to manage and did not give us the flexibility to meet the increasing demands our users have been making.”
Having looked at various options, the best solution lay with the use of dark fibre. Not only would the monthly running costs be cheaper, the capital cost of the DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) equipment required to connect the main locations within the network, is an upfront, one-off expenditure, an approach in line with the sustainability and transformation plans (STP) being implemented across the NHS.
In purchasing the required equipment, Imperial Healthcare Trust looked at all the major vendors of DWDM solutions. Huawei was identified as a company with a fundamentally different approach. Yusuf Mangera continues:
“Huawei was not a name we associated with this type of product but when we looked at what it has been doing in the telecoms space over the last 30 years we realised it might have what we were looking for. This knowledge helped to allay concerns within our organisation about its ability to provide the 24/7 support we need.”
The fact that the Trust would be getting carrier-grade equipment at a competitive price also made the selection process straight-forward. Having worked closely with it to design the most appropriate solution, Huawei introduced its partner Magdalene to provide and install the solution. This included post implementation support and a bespoke package of remote monitoring and ongoing support.
Huawei’s OptiX OSN 1800-V DWDM solution is a versatile broadband backbone transmission platform, supporting TDM and packet switching over a metropolitan, or enterprise campus Optical Transport Network (OTN). It enables multiple low cost, high-bandwidth services to be delivered at speeds from two Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s. It also supports leased line speeds from Fast Ethernet (FE) to Gigabit Ethernet (GE) and ten GE services.
Despite delays caused by issues with the provision of the dark fibres, Imperial Healthcare Trust’s new IT infrastructure is starting to deliver the speed and scalability it needs.
“Although the network isn’t fully complete, we now have 40 wavelengths we can potentially use, with a lot more to come. Not only does this give us better value, it lets us easily scale up on demand by adding more chassis and line cards and gives us a level of flexibility we wouldn’t have received from other vendors.
“Another major feature is the ability to segregate different types of traffic. In the past just running a back-up has had a detrimental effect on front-line services. Now bandwidth is within our control,” says Yusuf Mangera.
Looking forward, the Trust sees the new network opening up great opportunities to streamline services and improve the security around them. It’s already working on the creation of a virtual Data Centre using Huawei’s OceanStor solution and has plans for a CCTV network and centralised security control centre.
“Initially I was a bit skeptical. Changing vendors in the market is a big risk, but I have been really impressed by what I’ve seen. As an organisation we are happy that we have made an investment that will see us through at least the next ten years placing us in a strong position in terms of future changes and ever growing demands on bandwidth” concludes Yusuf Mangera.
Huawei Enterprise Business Group (“Huawei Enterprise”) is one of the three business groups of Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions provider. Leveraging Huawei’s strong R&D capabilities and comprehensive technical expertise, Huawei Enterprise provides a wide range of highly efficient customer-centric ICT solutions and services to global vertical industry and enterprise customers across government and public sector, finance, transportation, electric power, energy, commercial businesses, and ISPs.
Huawei Enterprise’s innovative and leading solutions cover network infrastructure, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), cloud computing and data center, enterprise information security, and industry application solutions.
For more information, please visit: e.huawei.com/uk
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust was formed on October 1, 2007 by merging St Mary’s NHS Trust and Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust and integrating with the faculty of medicine at Imperial College London. With more than one million patient contacts each year, it is one of the largest acute Trusts in the country and, in partnership with Imperial College London, is the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC).
For more information, please visit: imperial.nhs.uk
Magdalene provides comprehensive independent solutions which address the individual needs of its customers throughout the Telecommunications Industry. Its capabilities encompass all phases, from requirements capture through network design, procurement, project delivery, complete maintenance services to a full suite of network operations offerings.
Headquartered in St. Ives near Cambridge with offices in Paris and Belfast, the company dedicated Marshalling and Logistics, Network Operations and Test Bed facilities specifically designed to support its managed service offerings.
For more information, please visit: magadelene.co.uk