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New Jersey hospital links to 'sister' facility on Staten Island

BridgeWave Communications

BAYONNE, NJ - Bayonne Medical Center, with Newark Bay on one side and Upper New York Bay on the other, has completed a wireless link to its sister hospital on Staten Island, 2 1/2 miles across the channel.

"The link to Richmond University Medical Center means the two hospitals can consolidate their help desk functions", said Anthony Antinori, Bayonne's IT director. "We can share resources", he said. "We currently have a large Citrix environment. We can run everything remotely from Bayonne."

A new wireless system, developed by Santa Clara, Calif. -based BridgeWave Communications, connects the two hospitals, and promises 99.99 percent link availability - even in downpours.

So far, so good, says Antinori. The system went live in March, and there has been no downtime. Bridge Regional Health System, a holding company created by the Bayonne Medical Center board of directors, owns Bayonne and Richmond University Medical Center (formerly Saint Vincent's Hospital). Bayonne Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 16 and is in the midst of reorganization.

To Antinori and his team, connecting the two hospitals makes financial sense. The hospitals will quickly realize the payback on their $150,000 investment - well within two years, Antinori figures.

Bayonne is an early adopter of BridgeWave’s new technology. The company today announced general availability of its Gigabit Ethernet 80GHz Extended Range (GE80X) and AdaptRate 80GHz Extended Range (AR80X).

The new wireless links include two-foot antennas to reach 40 percent farther than previous products, making them ideally suited for a wider variety of enterprise connectivity as well as network operator access applications, said Gregg Levin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for BridgeWave.

Levin said healthcare is BridgeWave’s largest vertical market. There are usually multiple buildings in campus-like settings, and the increasing use of electronic health records is prompting hospitals to link all their facilities, either via fiber or wirelessly.

Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group in Massachusetts, says BridgeWave products address a growing market demand.

“With corporate networks supporting ever-increasing volumes of data, including time-bounded traffic, and with carriers deploying mobile broadband services to an ever-larger audience, GigE is beyond nice-to-have – it’s now essential.”

Levin calls BridgeWave's links “the wireless equivalent to fiber.”

Given the more than two miles of waterway that had to be crossed, fiber was not an option for linking Bayonne to it's sister hospital on Staten Island, Antinori said. And, when the projected cost for building a separate data center topped $1 million, he knew he had to find another way for the hospitals to share access to critical computing systems and servers.

Bayonne's IT team first rejected a bandwidth-constrained 45Mbps leased-line solution that would cost more than $5,000 a month. They also ruled out aggregating multiple 52Mbps wireless radios as well as optical wireless using free-space optics because neither technology met their reliability or distance requirements.

An online search led Antinori to BridgeWave.

BridgeWave's new AR80X product provides a clear line-of-sight over the busy waterway that spans Upper New York Bay and Newark Bay, and meets all the criteria for security, uptime and capacity and cost, said Antinori.