Care Protect

UK-wide healthcare monitoring service provider

Key facts
  • Classic hub-and-spoke network topology
  • 16 sites across the UK
  • Existing heavy reliance on VPNs
  • Single site POC, followed by multi-site SD-WAN roll out

The customer

Care Protect provides remote video and audio monitoring services to safeguard and protect individuals in health and social care across the UK, improving service transparency, and care quality and safety.

The need

Dependable, high quality, high speed upload and download links are vital to support the real time audio and video streaming used by Care Protect to deliver its core healthcare monitoring services.

Many clients approach Evolving Networks needing improved underlying connectivity as well as the bandwidth, resilience and network management benefits offered by the company’s Intelligent Network Fabric (INF). Care Protect already had Leased Lines and FTTC connections in place at its client sites and its Belfast head office. However, they were facing two major challenges.

Additional bandwidth was needed between Belfast and a client hospital, in Roehampton. With the full capacity of the existing connectivity being used; the VPN connection had been suffering connectivity dropouts. Care Protect asked Evolving Networks to combine the Roehampton site’s existing FTTC circuit with a second FTTC to deliver the necessary capacity.

Having seen the capability of Evolving Networks, and that of the solution implemented, Care Protect then asked the provider to replace its VPN with a true SD-WAN solution, also running over Care Protect’s existing connectivity. In common with organisations the world over, Care Protect were having to invest significant and increasing amounts of time and effort into keeping the VPN running. A more reliable, scalable, manageable, flexible and configurable solution was rapidly becoming essential as the VPN drop outs were causing a major problem.

The solution

Evolving Networks designed and implemented an SD-WAN solution to deliver additional bandwidth, quality and reliability, whilst eliminating the dropouts that Care Protect had been experiencing on the VPN to the Roehampton hospital.

Leveraging its Intelligent Network Fabric, Evolving Networks designed and implemented a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) to replace Care Protect’s legacy VPN, which was causing the company’s IT team significant headaches.

Evolving Networks also provided temporary Multipath Ethernet connections at a further site, whose leased line installation had been delayed. Implemented in just a couple of weeks, the Multipath Ethernet over FTTC connection provided the site with essential connectivity until the leased line was delivered, at which point it was seamlessly integrated into the SD-WAN.

The methodology

The Evolving Networks INF combines the bandwidth of multiple circuits of diverse types, delivering enhanced resilience, uptime, QoS with native monitoring and self-healing technology as standard. The INF can run over existing circuits of any type. Implementation is a simple matter of plugging in an Evolving Networks EVX appliance at each site.

With an EVX installed at their first site presenting two FTTC circuits as a single SD-WAN connection, work began on replacing Care Protect’s VPN.

Evolving Networks shipped EVX appliances to Care Protect’s other client sites, at various locations around the UK, remotely configuring them to deliver a full site to site SD-WAN, replacing the clunky and unreliable VPN at all client sites.

On installation, the EVXs connect to the INF automatically and, if required, can be further configured remotely by Evolving Networks engineers. Using existing connectivity and initially working alongside the VPN, they allowed Care Protect’s IT team to test and fully understand the new SD-WAN before migrating away from the VPN.

Care Protect were able to nominate a single site as an initial test site, switching off its VPN connectivity while maintaining the VPN at all other sites. Having successfully migrated one site, the remaining sites were switched over to the SD-WAN one by one in a planned roll-out, the VPN finally being eliminated for good as the last site was migrated.

This flexibility, an inherent INF characteristic delivered with every Evolving Networks connection, was hugely valuable to Care Protect, markedly reducing risks during the migration from the VPN to the SD-WAN and enabling the company to continue delivering uninterrupted services to its clients throughout the process.

The results

Evolving Networks’ SD-WAN solution has enabled Care Protect to cut configuration times, and improve performance and reliability for both general remote site access and real time audio and video streaming. It has also facilitated a substantial new 1,500 camera roll out across a multi-site private hospital group.

The SD-WAN has reduced the incidence of faults, routing around and self-healing almost all issues before Care Protect are even aware of them.

The solution is highly, seamlessly, scalable. This is key in the light of Care Protect’s ambitious growth plans. At three of Care Protect’s client sites, Evolving Networks has responded to requests to adjust capacity by adding or removing tails – a task completed in just minutes in every case. By comparison, changes to MPLS connections not only typically take months but are also conspicuously expensive.

The benefits the SD-WAN has realised have driven enhanced service quality and customer satisfaction, as well as cutting travel time and costs by enabling Care Protect IT staff to access site infrastructure remotely instead of making site visits.

Why Evolving Networks?

Care Protect came to Evolving Networks seeking assistance with a particular challenge at an individual site – improving connectivity with the Roehampton site.

Once the company had seen how capable the Evolving Networks INF was, they began to see how it could help them reduce or even eliminate their dependency on their VPN. In common with companies the world over, Care Protect were finding their VPN unreliable, difficult to manage, and a heavy management weight on their IT team.

The SD-WAN Evolving Networks proposed and delivered is substantially more reliable and easier to manage, freeing up significant amounts of the IT team’s time for more productive deployment.

Key to the management simplicity of the new SD-WAN is the eView Live WAN management console. This presents diverse information on the performance of the SD-WAN, including clear identification of circuits which are running near to capacity. As a result, accurately targeting additional capacity is much simplified, and can be proved with real data, and predicted by looking at trends.

Care Protect have added several new circuits to their connectivity on the basis of the information provided by eView Live.

Of particular importance to Care Protect was Evolving Networks’ focus on identifying the company’s real issues and challenges, providing solutions to address these rather than seeking to ‘up-sell’ to a more extensive solution.

Care Protect already had high-quality Leased Line and FTTC circuits in place, and simply required the Evolving Networks INF software overlay to give them the capability to aggregate bandwidth, increase resilience and improve manageability. Being able to eliminate the VPN by easily turning this into an SD-WAN without a change of software vendor was an unexpected bonus!

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