D-Link Switches Provide Reliable, Flexible Backbone for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Security Command Center

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is a 529-bed teaching hospital located on a 341-acre campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sponsored by Catholic Health Ministries, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital has been named as a Top 100 Hospital and is at the forefront of many clinical specialty areas including oncology, cardiovascular, neurosciences, women and children, orthopedics and senior health.

The Challenge
The sprawling St. Joseph Mercy Hospital was undergoing an expansion that required it to relocate its security command center, so hospital administrators took this opportunity to update the somewhat aging security system to a single platform, an ambitious project that would allow security staff to monitor more than 200 cameras simultaneously and increase recording time from only days to many months.

The challenge was met by one of the project teams at D/A Central, Inc., a D-Link reseller located in Oak Park, MI. Chris Cerovina, Project Manager, and Jerry Albrecht, Engineering Manager, for D/A Central were charged with staging the implementation, setting up a temporary system during the move, and then building out the security command center at the new location – a large-scale project that took two years to complete.

The primary initiatives were to convert the existing analog security system to digital Internet Protocol (IP), replace coax cable wiring with fiber cable to enhance scalability, geographic reach and video quality, add a redundant power supply with fail-over capabilities, improve management functions with a unified software solution, and expand bandwidth to facilitate increased video recording and storage.

“We were looking for a flexible system that would allow us to add more storage, allow us to update software, and give the customer infinite expandability at a significant cost savings,” said Terry Woycik, Systems Specialist for this project. “Another factor was speed. I had worked with D-Link switches before and I knew they could get the job done,” said Albrecht.

The Solution
D/A Central opted for a combination of 25 D-Link® xStack® series Layer 2 switches – the DXS-3227 24-Port Gigabit Wireless-Ready Switch and the DXS-3250 48-Port Gigabit Wireless-Ready Switch – with redundant power supplies to serve as the backbone for the entire implementation because “they provided us with the flexibility to add more storage and update software.”

“We needed an extremely secure redundant system, and that was the key reason for selecting these switches, for their stacking and fail-over capabilities. Hospitals operate 24/7 and we were seeking reliability,” he said. “We also needed the port aggregation and spanning tree combo that these switches provide for the increased bandwidth to record all this video.”

Albrecht worked extensively with D-Link engineer Tom Jones in the onsite design, testing and debugging of the switches. Together they conducted a trial run in a mini-simulation of the facility to test the fail-over capability. “Tom made sure everything worked,” Albrecht said.

The D-Link switches provided St. Joseph Mercy Hospital with the flexibility to add more storage to the system to house management functions such as JDS Softsite 32 Enterprise recording software, a profile-based program that can save video based upon certain criteria, and save video viewsbased on time of day and staff shifts. “With the modularity of the system we were able to achieve a lot of functions very inexpensively,” Albrecht said.

“With the old system, hospital security staff were only able to view nine cameras at one time. We now have a full command center with 128 video feeds, and the local viewer can monitor 27 cameras at a time,” Albrecht said. “The hospital security staff now is able to observe different areas of the hospital in a panoramic quad on a large video wall, making it easy to zero in for closer monitoring or if an incident occurs.

As for the results, Albrecht noted, “The quality of the video has improved significantly — so much so that the customer thought we installed new cameras.”

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital now proudly showcases its new security command center. “They love it,” Albrecht said. “They were able to accomplish all their goals.”