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D-Link Switches Provide Reliable, Flexible Backbone for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital
Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:20:00 AM
The sprawling St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, a 529-bed teaching hospital located on a 341-acre campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan was undergoing an expansion that required it to relocate its security command center.

Hospital administrators viewed this project as an opportunity to update the facility's somewhat aging security system to a single platform, an ambitious project that would allow security staff to monitor more than 200 cameras simultaneously and increase recording time from 14 days to six months.

The primary initiatives were to convert the existing analog security system to digital Internet Protocol (IP), replace coax cable wiring with fiber cable to enhance scalability, geographic reach and camera quality, add a redundant power supply with fail-over capabilities, improve management functions with a unified software solution, and expand bandwidth to facilitate increased video recording and storage.

At the helm of the project was Jerry Albrecht, engineering manager for D/A Central, a D-Link reseller located in Oak Park, MI, who was charged with staging the implementation, setting up a temporary system during the move, and then building out the security command center at the new location - a large-scale project that took two years to complete.

"We were looking for a flexible system that would allow us to add more storage, allow us to update software, and give the customer infinite expandability at a significant cost savings," Albrecht said. "Another factor was speed. I had worked with D-Link switches before and I knew they could get the job done."

Albrecht opted for a combination of 25 D-LinkŪ xStackŪ Series Layer 2 switches - the DXS-3227 24-Port Gigabit Wireless-Ready Switch and the DXS-3250 48-Port Gigabit Wireless-Ready Switch - with redundant power supplies to serve as the backbone for the entire implementation because "they provided us with the flexibility to add more storage and update software."

"We needed an extremely secure redundant system, and that was the key reason for selecting these switches, for their stacking and fail-over capabilities. Hospitals operate 24/7 and we were seeking reliability," he said. "We also needed the port aggregation and spanning tree combo that these switches provide for the increased bandwidth to record all this video."

"With the old system, hospital security staff was only able to view nine cameras at one time. We now have a full command center with 128 camera feeds, and the local viewer can monitor 27 cameras at a time," Albrecht said. "The hospital security staff now is able to observe different areas of the hospital in a panoramic quad on a large video wall, making it easy to zero in for closer monitoring or if an incident occurs.

As for the speed, Albrecht noted, "The quality of the video camera performance has improved significantly -- so much so that the customer thought we installed new cameras."
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