Question

Network for remote services

Hello, I am working on a scenario in which a service provider maintains healthcare devices at many different hospitals. Each of these will create large files (up to 5GB) a few times per day that need to be sent to the provider's data center. Currently, healthcare devices are connected to an IPSec router that is connected to a data center through a VPN.

I am looking to come up with an alternative that makes it possible to use these remote services independently of the hospital's network, and therefore I considered making use of LTE routers with SIM cards instead to provide mobile connectivity.

Would this be a suitable approach in your opinion? I'd be happy to hear your thoughts!

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My bet is Cellular solutions will blow out budgets.

My background includes data over cellular in a custom tracking system. 5GB a day you say? You won't be there for long as you are likely increasing the cost of operations by some 100 times or more.

What you have now looks like what most would implement for both cost and security.

So with that aside, what is broken and needs fixing?

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Thanks!

Thank you very much for your answer!

To provide a little more background information, the current setup that is installed by the service provider is very time-consuming and sometimes not finished in time. For the installation of new medical devices, it would be helpful to ensure this can be provided faster.

Therefore, I thought about letting the service provider take care of cellular routers and SIM cards that are independent of the hospital's network and could be used quickly. Although I couldn't quite determine the exact data costs, I agree this is an expensive option. Do you see any alternative solutions that can be implemented quickly?

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Sorry no. Here's why.

5GB is a lot of data and your story seems to tell me something new in your latest reply as in "a new machine requires 5GB of data from the Internet."

Maybe the maker needs to work on pre-conditioning the devices prior to fielding.

Why I write that is that when we fielded the tracking systems we would have hundreds to thousands client buses to setup. So back in our engineering we knew that and worked out how to reduce the device setup time to about a minute each. The first units took 10 to more minutes and while the engineers didn't see what the problem was at first we fixed that by having them work in the field on the first deployment of 100 buses.

They came back and worked the issue and now it's just seconds per bus to tailor it to the new install.

-> Part Deux.
Cellular data can be slow to broken. Part of what we do over cellular had us rethink how to move data many times. While slow was OK since we had small packets to move now and then, the big issue was when the bus had the no connection issue and what to do then. I can't write more about that but suffice to say that if your system hit that it sounds unacceptable and another reason why cellular is not the fix.
The TL;DR is: Cellular isn't that fast at times and sometimes it just isn't working.

Post was last edited on December 1, 2019 9:15 AM PST

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Thanks

If we would focus on data of up to 1GB, would that change anything at all? I feel there must be a feasible way to transfer fairly large data from a device a couple of times per day without using the hospital's existing network ...

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Not really.

Once you price out moving 28 to 31 GB of data per device a month and how much that will cost, my bet is your CFO will beat you up about this idea.

What you have should be fairly cheap and fast compared to cellular. On top of that the connections issues are all too common indoors. Our products were outdoors (trucks, buses and such) and we had to revisit the LOS (loss of signal) area many many times. While the engineering leads understood that there would be LOS, the staff on the programming team struggled.

It was a great project and the teams learned a lot along the way.

Post was last edited on December 1, 2019 12:31 PM PST

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