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Health System Improves Efficiency with Standards-Based Networking and Wireless Infrastructure

    TERACAI teams with WellSpan Health

    As one of the largest health systems in Pennsylvania, WellSpan Health needed to develop a standardized, efficient core networking infrastructure that was scalable for future growth.


    In this short video, Randal Echterling, Network Architect at WellSpan Health, explains how partnering with TERACAI to upgrade WellSpan's core networking infrastructure helped strengthen strategic, long-term direction and enabled more efficient planning for future growth.


Learn how the WellSpan Health team achieved these outcomes:

  • Partnership strengthened strategic, long-term direction and enabled future growth
  • Standard network and wireless design for remote locations increased consistency and ease of implementation
  • Standardization created improved reliability of network and facilitated a quicker return to service in the event of an outage
  • Increased efficiency of technology at remote locations allowed for improved communication between caregivers and patients


Read the full case study here.

Watch a webinar based on this project here.


I'm the network architect for WellSpan Health Systems. We are based in central Pennsylvania; we're a not for profit community-based health system. We have about 93 remote locations. We have four major hospitals and about 12,000 employees work for the organization.


My responsibility is all connectivity throughout the entire enterprise, whether it be wired connectivity, remote access or wireless connectivity for clients or servers, we have that responsibility. Right now throughout WellSpan, we have about 47,000 active network ports in the environment. The core networking solutions that we've done is we've implemented some carrier equipment. We've built our enterprise as a carrier-grade network, so we have ASR9Ks, Cisco ASR9Ks in the core, then our Nexus 7Ks provide access for our data center, and they're the cores in our data center. We go down to Nexus 6Ks and 5Ks as our distribution, down to 2Ks as our access switches.


TERACAI has also helped us out with the remote sites of the routers and the switches, and everything that we need for connectivity at the remote sites, and it would be to provide switching infrastructure to be able to do the PoE that we need to provide power for APs, IP phones, or any other device that would be out there.


TERACAI has helped us develop solutions on how we can connect, the most efficient way to connect our remote locations, and we've worked on everything from routing protocols to specific products.


And we've developed standards. Working with TERACAI we developed standards across the enterprise. We can call TERACAI and say, "Hey, we're bringing up a remote site," and they can crank out a standard order and say, "Yep, here it is." We have everything built on standards, this way if there's a failure we don't have to spare as much, we can spare the products and our return to service is a lot quicker.


By working with TERACAI for software standard, hardware standard, for all of that, for all of our infrastructure, it has really helped us to become very stable within our enterprise. TERACAI has made our job easier because they've learned our environment. It's a partner relationship, so our sales rep and the engineers that support us on the TERACAI side, they work well with us. They know our environment, they've take the time to learn what we do. We've met them countless times to talk about direction. We do strategic planning with them on, "Here's what we'd like to do, here's directions," and we do it as a back and forth. What we're looking for is somebody that's going to say, "Here's our plan. This is our design." It's not what can you do for me today, but let's talk about a five-year strategy.


Before we worked with TERACAI we had another partner that we were involved with, but that partner, it was just orders, it was straight orders. We knew that growing and moving forward, in certain areas we're not going to be the subject matter experts on some of this because we're not going to do it all the time. We needed somebody that we could partner with, somebody we could lean on to fill the gaps, and that's where we went with TERACAI.


There's a lot of capabilities within the organization that can help us. We rely on TERACAI to do all of our wireless surveys, we rely on TERACAI to help us with core design, to help us with IPv6 planning, to help us with strategic planning and direction. Then they help us trying to work within the budget constraints that we have, just because at the end of the day, it's all going to be what we can actually afford to do and TERACAI is very good at helping us and coming up with creative solutions.


Our doctors have developed strict protocols to help patients when they come into the hospital. If they come in the ED and they're coming in in the middle of the night, we have a neurologist on call, he's got an HD videoconferencing system sitting in his house. The neurologist, from home, within a matter of minutes can be talking to the patient, interacting with the patient. Wireless relies on the infrastructure, the switching infrastructure, the switching infrastructure that we get from TERACAI, the designs that we've done with TERACAI, that data getting back to the data center, the ability to go out to the Internet through all of that technology so that the doctor at his house can go through the Internet, videoconference with that patient and hopefully improve that patient's outcome.


There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff that people don't see. It doesn't matter who gets the credit, if the doctor gets the credit for, "Hey, you're doing a great job," then we can stand back and just be proud of the infrastructure that we put in place that allowed that doctor to help that patient and have a positive outcome.