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Case Study

Repurposing 2-Wire Copper for Alert Systems Saves Lives, Costs, and Time

  • Application Alert Systems
  • Industry Other 
  • Region Africa


Patient safety has become a crucial discipline in healthcare organizations worldwide in recent years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving care – even in the most advanced hospitals. Many of these incidents, for example, elderly people slipping and falling in bathrooms, have had grave consequences. Faced with these kinds of risks, hospitals cannot afford to compromise on patient safety. Hence, a fail-proof emergency response is required to deal with such emergencies and save lives. The logical step is to make these kinds of emergencies more detectable so that they are reported without delay.

Recently, a hospital in Hong Kong took the issue of real-time detection to heart by revisiting its building infrastructure, including patient rooms, to eliminate any emergencies due to accidents. For the hospital’s administration, the key requirement was to set up an IP-based emergency alert button system in each patient room’s toilet, linked to facility’s current advanced emergency network. In addition, administrators wanted to integrate, over the same network, an IP CCTV surveillance that activated and displayed a remote monitoring system in real time when the alarm system in a patient’s toilet was triggered. Caregivers will have immediate first-hand information to perform the correct comprehensive response.

However, it wasn’t practical to lay new Ethernet cables room to room because reconstruction work might disrupt patients’ much-needed care and rest. Furthermore, time constraints to reduce safety concerns, a tight budget, and the long distance between the patients’ rooms and the control center also complicated the set-up of the new system.

Luckily, 2-wire copper cables were already installed; they were used in older systems and were no longer needed. These copper cables extended few hundred meters between each room to the control center. Ultimately, the challenge was to ensure that the entire network would be fast and reliable enough to handle network packets for both emergency alerting signals and IP cameras.

System Requirements

  • Transmit emergency alerting signals and video over distances up to a few hundred meters
  • Data transmission over existing wires
  • Easy installation, diagnosis, and management
  • Use existing 2-wire copper cables for IP networking
  • Rugged design

Moxa Solution

To meet the hospital’s demands for a fast and reliable Ethernet network by using the existing copper wires, Moxa deployed Moxa IEX-402-SHDSL DSL extenders to create a long-distance (up to 8 km for G.SHDSL), point-to-point Ethernet network between each patient’s room and the control center. Moreover, the IEX-402-SHDSL series supports a data rate up to 15.3 Mbps, which ensures that the IP camera recording and the emergency alert systems work simultaneously. The auto CO/CPE negotiation for easy plug-and-play installation function saved the hospital inconvenience and reduced the disruption of patients’ care and rest while the construction was taking place. Regarding management and troubleshooting, Moxa provides the MXview network management software, which makes visualizing and monitoring complete networks very easy. The software is easy to use for hospital employees through a browser interface. Last, but not least, the 5-year warranty and service allows the hospital to continue its high-quality patient-centered care well into the future.

Why Moxa

Healthcare organizations and hospitals can improve their standing with patients by optimizing the efficiency of their medical resources. As was pointed out at the beginning of this article, ensuring patient safety is at the heart of this endeavor, and the ability to detect emergency situations and relay the relevant information quickly and accurately during daily operations is of prime importance.

For cases such as this, healthcare facilities need to embrace modern technologies, such as emergency alerting systems and IP CCTV surveillance recording systems, to implement real-time alarms and notifications that enable better and faster communications between all of the active team members.

However, how to adopt new technology for use with existing systems is not always clear-cut.  Budget limits, geographic and construction constraints, and inconveniencing patients are all factors that need to be addressed beforehand. Fortunately, Moxa DSL extenders can offer tremendous total-cost-of-ownership advantages over alternative communications technologies. Eliminating the need to install new wiring in buildings saves money, owing to the cost of the wiring, the construction work itself, and the need for more units due to the 100-meter transmission distance limitation of RJ45 cables. Using Moxa DSL extenders has the added advantage of being able to get entire systems up and running in only a few steps, reducing the amount of time needed to complete an upgrade project by days or even months.

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