Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) have proliferated within healthcare environments. The staff
efficiencies and patient care advantages realized through wireless mobility are well established. WLAN
infrastructure solutions have matured, and provide reasonable interoperability under the Wi-Fi certification
program. While the cost of deploying a WLAN solution has dropped over the last several years, the
operational expense of maintaining and managing a WLAN continues to rise. As more and more critical
healthcare applications migrate to wireless, the cost of troubleshooting and fixing wireless network
connectivity and performance issues is increasing. Unlike wired networks, wireless networks pose unique
challenges given the transient and shared nature of the communication medium. The ability to effectively
analyze and respond to wireless problems is indispensable for maximizing the Return-on-Investment (ROI)
from a WLAN solution.This paper provides a summary of some of the key wireless performance issues
that affect WLAN deployments in healthcare. The Motorola AirDefense distributed WLAN monitoring
system provides a vendor agnostic, cost effective, centrally managed, WLAN troubleshooting solution that
can significantly improve wireless network availability and therefore the performance of data, voice and
other healthcare applications.
WLAN networks use a shared, license-free, Radio Frequency (RF) medium for communications. The
operational challenges of running a wireless network are unique and different from wired networks.