Hospitals connected to the future

The Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Italy, has 1,200 beds spread over seven five-storey buildings, each connected to a central building.

The hospital was opened in 2012 and already back then it was considered vital to provide it with connectivity through a multi-operator system of DAS (Distributed Antenna System) and Small Cells to guarantee complete mobile signal coverage to all patients, staff and visitors.

A couple of years later, in 2014, Cellnex expanded the project by also connecting the 270,000 square metres of the auditorium.

In 2020, in the wake of the health crisis that so harshly affected the province of Bergamo, the company began working on the design and installation of a DAS network also on the five floors of building 2, which includes a 10,000 square-metre paediatric ward.

“The quality of the mobile network signal had already been analysed during the various construction phases of the hospital. It was immediately clear that the coverage was insufficient in the areas inside the seven buildings, but particularly in the central part of the complex. After rejecting the idea of simply transporting the “aerial” signal from the outside to the inside, a solution was chosen that would guarantee excellent coverage while remaining flexible and scalable” says Fabrizio Zampoleri, Head of Telecommunications at the Papa Giovanni XXII Hospital. “Simply adding new remote units and micro antennas, mainly on the three floors of the central building and in the areas with the highest influx of patients and visitors.”

The DAS installation, comprising a dense network of mini antennas with low visual impact, connected with optical fibre and also prepared for the 5G standard, guarantees high-performance data and voice connections to all healthcare personnel and visitors to the hospital, even when there is a large influx of patients. The DAS system is also characterised by its low electromagnetic impact, making it especially suitable for this type of infrastructure, considering the presence of sensitive medical devices.

With the arrival of the new generation of mobile networks like 5G, the DAS system installed by Cellnex will also act as a facilitator for the Bergamo hospital to move towards integrating mobile devices with new computer systems. The DAS system really is the right network infrastructure for facilitating innovative IoT applications in healthcare, such as real-time remote control required by robotic surgery or managing telemedicine applications in virtual and augmented reality, such as remote patient care and monitoring.

“To guarantee access to the potential and the benefits offered by the technological innovations linked to the deployment of 5G inside the facilities, it is essential to have a DAS infrastructure comprising mini multi-operator antennas,” says Paolo Gillio, Senior Business Development Enterprise & PA at Cellnex Italy. “We are proud to have performed this project for the Bergamo Hospital in record time, since it has afforded healthcare personnel, and all visitors, the possibility of immediate access to a stable, fast and efficient mobile network and, in the near future, to the most modern tools and services related to digital health.”

Cellnex Italy has extensive experience in this type of project, having connected the Niguarda Metropolitan Hospital in Milan, other emblematic buildings such as the Hadid Tower, the Unicredit Tower, the Pirelli Tower or the Lombardy Building, as well as sports arenas such as San Siro in Milan, the Juventus Stadium o the Palazzo dello Sport di Roma (PalaLottomatica in Rome).

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