Connecting care: The transformative role of 5G in healthcare

By Rajeev Gandhi, Head of Technology, Telco Network Engineering

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By Rajeev Gandhi, Head of Technology, Telco Network Engineering

Communication is essential in the healthcare sector. Doctors need real-time access to clinical data to ensure patient safety and care quality. Similarly, Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare sensors, edge devices, and other equipment should have almost zero signal latency to ensure data transfers are completed within microseconds. 5G communication technology can eliminate dead ends and communication silos, but there are lots of hurdles in the process.

The healthcare industry's first and foremost hurdle is 5G network deployment. The deployment will be challenging due to the striking differences in metrics and infrastructure aspects compared to existing LTE. Furthermore, the opportunities for 5G rollout in the healthcare sector are much less than one might expect.


Factors affecting the successful deployment of a private 5G network

There can be deployment challenges for 5G networks, which can only perform well once these are solved. Till that time, the overall network performance will remain unreliable and unstable. Signal security and privacy will also be at risk. Knowing the factors affecting 5G deployment success is imperative for businesses and organizations involved in the healthcare sector.

Cost is the most important factor governing the deployment of the 5G network. Healthcare organizations need to create a fixed budget for network deployment. However, the cost for 5G deployment is not minimal, owing to the need for numerous small cells and antennas to form the infrastructure. Furthermore, all the communicating devices must be compatible with the 5G network to establish the connection. This will need another set of investments, so preparing an accurate budget is imperative. If not, the business won’t be able to accommodate all the operable devices within the 5G network, or there won’t be enough coverage to eliminate communication dead ends.

Frequency Bandwidth
Frequent bandwidth is one of the most important factors to consider for 5G deployment and network setup in the healthcare industry. As there can be passive intermodulation interference or security issues, businesses can use the mmWave technology. It has an ultra-high frequency range, varying between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. Here, the chances of network interference with the existing one will be significantly low. Also, the mmWave technology is highly scalable. It means that bandwidth can be increased within this range to accommodate all the users and devices.

Number of Users
The success rate of 5G network deployment in the healthcare sector highly depends on the number of users. Small and medium-scale enterprises can start with a traditional network infrastructure as they won’t have to scale the infrastructure and accommodate more users within a shorter time. On the other hand, when we consider a growing healthcare organization, it is important to plan for a scalable 5G network. This will help accommodate any number of users and balance the channel load, avoiding a negative impact on network performance, reliability, and stability.

Existing Communication Infrastructure
Building the 5G network infrastructure from scratch will be highly challenging given the significant Capex and Opex constraints. This is why businesses should study the existing 4G LTE infrastructure and plan the modifications needed to make it compatible with 5G. For instance, replacing larger antennas placed at longer distances with smaller ones with reduced distances is an option. Similarly, the baseband unit (BBU) components can be replaced with advanced ones operating within the mmWave frequency bandwidth. This will reduce the time and money needed for 5G network deployment in the healthcare sector.

Latency in Signal Transmission
A 5G network deployment is considered successful when the latency in signal transmission is negligible. Signal latency depends on numerous factors, including the hardware components, antenna size and distance, communication channels, bandwidth, and uplink and downlink data transfer speeds. So, if healthcare organizations want to deploy the networking infrastructure flawlessly without any error, it is imperative to reduce data transfer latency. This way, the signals will be received on the other end within microseconds, ensuring there won’t be communication siloes. Furthermore, healthcare professionals can rely on IoT sensors and edge machines to communicate with patients.

Efficiency and Performance
Finally, the network deployment efficiency will depend on efficiency and performance. In other words, if the deployed network fails to deliver the expected reliability and transmission stability, this new telecommunication technology won't be used. Therefore, healthcare organizations must consider the hardware and overall infrastructure to make the network more efficient and high performing.


Ways a 5G private network can be implemented in healthcare

Following are some scenarios where 5G private networks can transform and improve healthcare.

Remote Monitoring and Diagnosis

AR and VR

A 5G network, when appropriately implemented, will pave the way for the proper use of augmented and virtual reality in the healthcare system.


With the help of 5G, IoT devices and sensors can communicate faster without suffering from signal delay or quality issues.

Finally, healthcare companies can leverage network slicing to operate numerous appliances on the same network while maintaining absolute isolation.


Correct deployment will revolutionize healthcare services

In this blog, we have shared the six most essential factors on which the success of 5G network deployment will depend. Based on these, healthcare organizations and businesses can plan and take necessary steps to avoid failures and glitches.

When deployed correctly, 5G technology will make communication seamless and secure. It has the potential to revolutionize how healthcare services are delivered and experienced. It can improve patient care, enable innovative applications, enhance connectivity, and ensure the security and privacy of sensitive medical data.

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