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 Is Your Practice’s WiFi Fast Enough?

 Is Your Practice’s WiFi Fast Enough?

Have you ever logged in when you arrive at the office, clicked to get work done, and sat there waiting while everything loads? You wait, and wait some more. You open a new browser window. Maybe reboot to try and speed things up. You have work to do, and this is slowing you down.

Today’s practices are filled with devices that need access to the internet. And depending on the number of people you have on staff, your needs accelerate daily.

Yet, most small medical practices don’t have a dedicated IT person to help them adjust to the changing IT infrastructure. Has the last year changed the way you do business? Virtual health has increased the way we all approach everything, including how we access medical help.

Chances are you have a variety of technology questions. With most, you muddle through as best as you can.

Or ignore.

What about these questions:

  • Is your WiFi fast enough?
  • Do you have adequate speed to ensure your entire team has access as needed?
  • How do you diagnose slow WiFi?
  • Is there a simple way to improve it?

Let’s start with WiFi speed

There is no hard-set rule for how fast WiFi should be within medical practices. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made recommendations for minimum bandwidth levels:

Single Physician Practice - should have 4 Mbps to support office functions, allow simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video, and enable remote monitoring and image download.

Small Physician Practice up to 4 physicians - should have 10 Mbps to support all office functions, including use of HD video consultations.

Nursing home - should have 10 Mbps for full office support for everyone on staff.

Large Physician Practice up to 25 physicians - should have 25 Mbps to fully support the entire staff in their daily endeavors.

Keep in mind that the speed you receive will be shared by all devices used on the network. Minimum suggested levels won’t always meet your exact needs. A 4 Mbps download speed means you can receive up to 4 Mbps of data per second.

What is internet speed?

Internet speed is rated based on megabits per second, Mbps, also known as allocated bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data you can send or receive at any given point in time.

Here in 2021, the national average internet speed is 99.3 Mbps, which makes the suggested rates from above seem archaic. Yet different providers offer different services. If you’re not sure what you have or how it’s working for you, the best place to start is by analyzing your needs.

You can think of your bandwidth as one line into your practice, with everything that needs internet connection vying for a piece of that space. If the line has 25 Mbps, every internet connection will share that if they are all requesting connection at the same time. If you are video conferencing with a technician while loading x-ray images, for example, both would be utilizing space from that line.

How fast is your WiFi?

It’s easy to buy into a plan and forget about it over time. Your needs change. The service plan you select does not.

How do you know what your current WiFi speed is? You can start with an internet speed test to measure both upload and download speed. There are lots of websites that offer tests for you to do it yourself. Once you find out how fast (or slow) your speed is, there are a few other things you can try to speed up your WiFi.

  • Inventory your current practice to determine every device vying for internet access and what type of activity they’re engaging in.
  • Ensure you have a clear connection between the router and devices, and your equipment is in the best possible spot for access.
  • If you have old firmware, your router might not be pulling its weight. You may need a new operating system update, or upgrade to a new router altogether.
  • Use a 5GHz network. Newer routers have dual-band networks that offer two signals. The 5GHz is usually stronger and may provide faster speeds.

Is it time for you to upgrade your WiFi? Do you need more bandwidth as you increase the number of internet activities offered throughout your medical practice?

If you need help understanding the answers, we can help.

For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.