Future proofing the Mater Dei Hospital Campus network infrastructure

by | Feb 26, 2024

In a world that is increasingly relying on Information Technology, reliable and resilient network connectivity is crucial to ensure business continuity. This is especially true within large and critical environments such as hospitals, including Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) and Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre (SAMOC).

The network infrastructure of MDH Campus has been in operation since its opening, thus most of the equipment has served well its purpose and a technology refresh was due.  The Ministry for Health engaged MITA to provide the required consultancy on how a technology refresh of this campus network could be carried out together with its implementation.  The main objectives were to carry out the required changes whilst keeping downtime to an absolute minimum and plan for future growth.

The MITA Network Engineering Services team immediately started working on this project by gathering the client’s business requirements and thoroughly analysing and identifying issues with the present network infrastructure. Meticulous planning of all project deliverables, within the constraints and dependencies of MDH, were then carried out to direct the team towards reaching the project’s goal in line with preset milestones. Alongside the new network design, the project also involved the laying of sixty (60) kilometres of fibre-optic cables through different routes between all Network Distribution Facilities located in thirty (30) different locations across MDH and SAMOC.

The new MDH Campus network infrastructure was planned with simplicity and flexibility in mind yet at the same time offering a more resilient and robust design. Factoring scalability in all design considerations was critical since it allows network expansion within additional areas and eventual new buildings. The resiliency that was included in the new setup will result in network equipment failures being invisible to end users since services running over the network will remain operational by shifting onto other functioning devices. The use of high-end network switches and firewalls increased performance by reducing network traffic latency – the time required for data to reach and be processed by the destination – to the bare minimum. Security was another factor which was given high prominence and consideration by incorporating the latest functionalities and relevant security features.

The migration process between the old and new networks started in February 2023 and was completed in November 2023. Due to the differing nature of health operations across multiple MDH areas, several meetings between MITA, the Ministry for Health Information Management Unit (IMU) and end-users, impacted during each migration,. Communication, between the different teams involved, was vital for a successful project outcome.  These meetings helped the implementation team understand the criticality, dependencies and constraints they had to deal with during the execution phase, whilst at the same time carry out the best possible risk-impact analysis including risk mitigation mechanisms. This meant that all migrations were executed during the night till early morning to minimise service disruptions as much as possible. Despite the challenges, this critical project was executed within the pre-defined timeframes, thanks to a highly technical and committed team. Various network engineers from MITA were involved, along with ICT officials from the Ministry for Health IMU.

All users working within MDH and SAMOC will now benefit from an exceptional network infrastructure which addresses the issues being encountered with the previous network architecture and which will provide the foundation on which other Information Technology related projects could be implemented. In the coming months, MITA together with Ministry for Health and Active Ageing IMU officials will also be implementing a wireless infrastructure to provide reliable wireless network connectivity across MDH and SAMOC.


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