Allegro Packets in the Hospital IT Journal

Hospital IT Journal offers review of DMEA

The industry magazine for Health IT, the Krankenhaus IT-Journal, published a review of the Healthcare IT Fair DMEA 2019. Multiple companies were invited to produce their own review. The issue was originally published in June. Now the article can be read online for the first time.

Health IT networks: How patients, doctors and colleagues benefit from a trouble-free network

IT and network managers rarely receive the same appreciation as their medical colleagues. But actually "Gods for the Net" would be a legitimate title. Because, if errors occur in the IT infrastructure despite all the redundancy and precautionary measures, it can have a significant and negative impact on patient care. Examples of such errors are patient files that cannot be accessed during rounds, or the MRI scanner which delivers data too slowly.

Modern gigabit analyzers help network managers quickly find and eliminate the cause of errors. The market-leading appliances in this segment are the Allegro Network Multimeters from Allegro Packets. These appliances have already become a proven and vital IT component in many hospitals and clinics. Allegro Packets presented its Allegro Network Multimeters for the first time at this year's edition of DMEA. Customers include network managers from companies, data centres, IT service providers, system houses and ISPs throughout Europe and beyond. The appliances are available in several versions, from the Allegro 200 access model (for smaller networks) to the Allegro 5500 (for 100G environments).

Clinics and hospitals are recognized as examples of widely distributed heterogeneous networks, most of which have grown empirically, but still need to meet state-of-the-art requirements.

The example above is part of the daily clinic routine. Staff may be unable to access medical files because the retrieval takes longer than expected. With the Allegro Network Multimeter, the problem can be recognized and isolated with a few clicks. In real-time, the Dashboard displays the most important network parameters, such as TOP-IPs, largest number of connections or most important protocols. Often a mistake is apparent at first glance. From here the browser-based web interface displays all analysis modules between Layer 2 and Layer 7. In our example it is noticeable that the programme does not send any data. In the IP address overview, the IP address of the server can be selected by a simple search. Next, restrict the time view to the approximate time range for which errors have been reported. The list of IP addresses accessing the server shows that requests from client computers have not been answered. As a result, the error could be quickly identified. In the end a security update on the server caused the malfunction.

Another example concerns the restricted data transmission of an MRI device. Frequently, IT administrators receive messages from staff that transmissions are taking to long to process and the network is at fault. The Allegro Network Multimeter analysis showed that the gigabit network was not overloaded at any time.

However, the troubleshooting appliance showed that the device itself was not sending data faster than the receiver could accept it. Next, the administrator selects the IP address of the MRI device and can immediately see that data transfer to the server is running at a constantly low data rate, but that no network errors occur. As a result, an image compression application was identified as the source of error because the MRI device could not compress the data fast enough. By switching off the compression, more data was transmitted but much faster over the gigabit network. Faster transmission ultimately means faster diagnoses and an increase in patient care.

Another issue that plays a major role in many sectors, and especially in medical networks, is data protection. The Allegro Network Multimeter is ideal for use in such security-sensitive areas since it does not permanently store network information. The In-Memory database developed for the appliance stores measurement data only in the internal main memory (RAM), ensuring that the measurement data is deleted when the device is switched off. If necessary, network traffic can be recorded in raw form for later analysis using the packet ring buffer integrated in the appliance (from Allegro 500). This is particularly important in clinical operation when troubleshooting is not possible during patient care.

Currently available network debuggers such as the Allegro Network Multimeter ensure fast troubleshooting and continuous quality assurance of the entire network. Network administrators, doctors, patients and the entire hospital staff benefit from these smart appliances.


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