Planning for Bandwidth: Going Beyond Resident WiFi in Senior Living IT

A few years ago broadband meant one thing in senior housing: Resident Wi-Fi. High speed connections for residents meant you were on the cutting edge. But senior housing today has bandwidth needs that go far beyond WiFi.

How do you know you’ve overstressed your bandwidth? Web pages load slowly. Downloads don’t fully complete. Email can’t sync and web forms time out.

These and other business functions depend on having sufficient bandwidth. It’s something senior housing operators need to plan for as they lay their IT strategies. Bandwidth needs go well beyond resident WiFi, reaching deep into the heart of business operations.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Thanks to VoIP, many businesses have been able to tie together voice and internet connections through a single channel. This makes for convenient management of data and voice operations, but it also puts a higher bandwidth requirement on the network overall. If you’re going to tap multiple services through a single system, bandwidth has to factor in.

Video Conferencing

Especially for enterprises with more than one location, video conferencing has become a powerful productivity tool, saving both money and time in the effort to bring colleagues “face to face.” It’s an efficient way of communicating with business partners and customers, and it helps cut travel costs. But video conferencing puts heavy demands on bandwidth, too, and must be factored in when considering overall capacity.

Big data

While it isn’t fully clear yet just how the “big data” trend is going to impact senior housing, it’s obvious that there will be some fallout, as the business world comes increasingly to rely on the aggregation of masses of information. Health data will be the likely driver of big data adoption in senior housing, as the health system looks to reap savings through the collection and analysis of a range of metrics. Management of big data will put demands on IT systems, likely calling for extensive bandwidth to manage the flow of large quantities of information.

Cloud services

Recent years have shown the value of third-party cloud services. Senior housing operators find it both convenient and economical to store data and run processes to the cloud as a means to boosting productivity and reducing the IT load overall. But cloud requires bandwidth, as information wends its way back and further between enterprise and provider. Once again: A need for extensive bandwidth that goes beyond resident WiFi.

Underlying the call for greater bandwidth is the ongoing need to future-proof the enterprise. It is here that an IT services provide can be especially helpful.

In designing and implementing a network infrastructure, an IT services expert can spot the places where bandwidth needs are likely to emerge not just in the short term but also over time. As technology moves forward, the call for greater capacity will only increase. IT services experts can help pinpoint and plan for whatever changes may lie ahead.

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