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Hospital Security Radio System

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code3kid

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#1
Hello all,

I work in healthcare security in Washington state. My employer has recently tasked me with implementing a working radio system with 4-5 user radios for our main hospital campus by the end of the fiscal year. Here's the downside. Administration only budgeted $5,000 for the system. Our current radios are the Motorola DTR650 (1 watt, digital 8/900 MHz simplex ISM frequency hopping) coverage is very marginal with them and all our guys hate them and leave them in the office. We recently domonatrated 2 Motorola XPR6550 (mototrbo, 4 watt, simplex) they didn't work muck better than the DTR650. My employers have began discussing demonstrating the icom IP100H voice over IP radios, used in conjunction with a single IP1000C controller that supposedly will work off of the hospitals existing wifi. The downside to that system is that it won't work in the parking lots or in elevators. My idea is that we could buy 4-5 used/refurbished Motorola XTS2500 VHF with AES encryption from a reputable dealer I know and operate P25 simplex with AES encryption. That way I could have an emergency button, UID alias, P25 paging, and scan local LE, Fire, and EMS. Though I'm not sure how well VHF P25 will work in the hospital. I have a Motorola XTS5000 that I would like to test with another VHF P25 portable in the buildings and parking lots but I don't have another one. I'm hoping that my connections at the local sheriff's office will let me borrow one of thier XTS2500 cache radios for testing. If we do go with VHF or UHF we will operate on either GMRS or MURS. I doubt we can get a repeater + subsriber units for less than 5k.

Any input, ideas, questions, comments at all?
 
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Joined
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#2
VHF is not your best option inside a building. UHF or 800MHz is going to outperform.

P25 isn't going to outperform DMR.

4 watts versus 5 watts isn't going to make a difference.

Unless you have a very well documented need for encryption, skip it. It isn't going to help and is only going to raise your costs for the radios.

If you are having issues with a 4 watt DMR radio, switching to P25 or a different model radio isn't going to improve coverage.
You either need a repeater, specifically designed for in-buildng coverage, or switch technologies all together.

WiFi may be your best option, here's why:
The "coverage" will come out of a different budget. Everyone wants better WiFi coverage for their mobile devices. Hospitals love to throw money at the IT guys. You'll have better luck getting improved WiFi coverage in the basement/parking garage than you likely will getting a repeater of your own.
Still, WiFi isn't a great option, but it's an inexpensive one when you can get another fund source to pay for it.

Other option is cellular. Likely the hospital has pretty good cellular coverage. I know, not a two way radio, but having some reliable communications is better than looking cool and not having coverage.

If I was in your shoes, I'd see where the WiFi option goes.
If that doesn't work out, then you need to get a bigger budget and have a repeater installed that is specifically set up for in-building coverage.
Or, see if you can rent a couple of 800MHz radios from a local shop for a few days. See if they provide any improvement in coverage. Theory says that 800MHz should penetrate the building better than lower frequencies. If it works, you can pick up a couple of used MTS2000's on the cheap.
 
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#3
Don't forget the FCC licensing requirements. GMRS would require everyone to get a license unless they are all related to each other. Using others frequencies may require letters of authorization and other restrictions. This assuming you don't already have FCC licensed frequencies.
BB
 

cmjonesinc

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#4
And not to mention using part certified equipment for whatever service you decide to go with. If you're going to be using murs then you'll be back down to lower power radio that in a building will preform poorly. I'd look into the IP radios. Fairly inexpensive and they have a good feature set. Plus a wifi network in general isn't too terribly expensive to build out and it would serve another purpose.
 
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#5
I would look at the wifi VOIP option. You may be able to get a demo done for it, alternative is finding a local communications shop who has licenses themself and users and businesses lease off them a channel and repeater. It may be shared with other services using seperate tone nacs etc or may be just to your use. You'd have to check. They may offer magone motorola radios or other lower cost portables that perform good, some digItal models may be offered depending on what yoyr willing to lease or buy. My hospital is running uhf 460mhz. One channel on repeater with a talk around on the rx end and one simplex frequency seperate. The repeater is located approx 15 miles away however on a very high mountain. They are a single story building in most areas and some 2 stories for maintenance areas and some labs. But they do not have a issue with dead spots on the hospital property which is 2 football fields in size. They get coverage around the city also when going to hardware stores or lunch and they need to communicate with another. You may get a shop who already has repeaters licensed or can get it and demo a repeater frequency out on site with handhelds to see coverage and dead spots if any exist. Allot of factors exist when picking out what you need. Those 2 options would probably be the cheaper end for you, if you already have equipment you may be able to use it and just lease the frequency and repeater usage and a simplex channel. But before buying or leasing you definitely want a demo done on site. Some may offer this for a fee some free if they think they will have a new customer. Third you could get more money and have a on site repeater put in, either uhf or 800mhz. Conventional use would seem more legible for your use. If your hospital uses a local TRS since most do for meat wagons rolling in on med channels or local med channels depending or circumstances you may be able to contact the authority in charge of it and have a talkgroup on the system, this could go either way paying your end for fees or I have known some to be given one since it is part of infrastructure per say and law enforcement and fire can utilize that talkgroup if a event occured at the facility. If the locals run conventional then conventional would be your best option or the wifi voip. You mentioned parking lot dead spots. This could be solved also depending on how you go about it with the wifi voip.
 
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#6
A few things that should be really obvious, that may not be obvious to you just yet.

1. no, you will NOT use GMRS or MURS frequencies
2. you dont need encryption for hospital security. 99% of your traffic is not privileged (hipaa related) In the unlikely event that a hospital security officer needs to receive or transmit privileged information, then you tell them by radio to call dispatch on the phone. Its a hospital. There are phones everywhere.
3. Adding on to what mmckenna said, the hospital wifi is going to be robust and there is a significantly higher chance of them throwing money at it, then the security department, especially because there is likely a large amount of equipment that is directly hospital related currently on that wifi.

Radio over wifi is probably your best bet. Several hospitals have implemented wifi radio/phones for nurses, so adding onto that system if in place, or selling them on that type of system is really going to be easier then trying to do radio in a building that is going to need a lot of equipment for the kind of coverage that the security department will require.
Elevator coverage isnt hard. Getting them to add external access points for parking lots shouldnt be hard either. Remember, thats coming out of the IT budget.
 

code3kid

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#7
A few things that should be really obvious, that may not be obvious to you just yet.

1. no, you will NOT use GMRS or MURS frequencies
2. you dont need encryption for hospital security. 99% of your traffic is not privileged (hipaa related) In the unlikely event that a hospital security officer needs to receive or transmit privileged information, then you tell them by radio to call dispatch on the phone. Its a hospital. There are phones everywhere.
3. Adding on to what mmckenna said, the hospital wifi is going to be robust and there is a significantly higher chance of them throwing money at it, then the security department, especially because there is likely a large amount of equipment that is directly hospital related currently on that wifi.

Radio over wifi is probably your best bet. Several hospitals have implemented wifi radio/phones for nurses, so adding onto that system if in place, or selling them on that type of system is really going to be easier then trying to do radio in a building that is going to need a lot of equipment for the kind of coverage that the security department will require.
Elevator coverage isnt hard. Getting them to add external access points for parking lots shouldnt be hard either. Remember, thats coming out of the IT budget.
First off, don't tell me what I do and don't need. My boss wants encryption. AND my boss wants parking lot coverage THIS year. We don't want to wait around till they out of the blue decide to put access points on the roof. Bottom line it wouldn't benefit anyone other that security, the nurses don't need ASCOM coverage (wifi phones) in the parking lots.

Secondly I WILL use MURS/GMRS if I want to. I have the CPS and I will be programming these radios. The FCC isn't going to roll through town anytime soon looking to bust hospital security operating on unlicensed frequencies at 5 instead of 3 watts, encrypted. Besides UHF or VHF probably isn't going to work anyways so we will probably end up getting a license for an 800mhz frequency and use secure XTS2500s simplex. We also have multiple outbuildings where the Wifi ASCOM phones don't work. Getting working wifi in those buildings is gona be $$$ alone, not to mention the icom radios themselves plus the controller.
 
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code3kid

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WA
#8
I would look at the wifi VOIP option. You may be able to get a demo done for it, alternative is finding a local communications shop who has licenses themself and users and businesses lease off them a channel and repeater. It may be shared with other services using seperate tone nacs etc or may be just to your use. You'd have to check. They may offer magone motorola radios or other lower cost portables that perform good, some digItal models may be offered depending on what yoyr willing to lease or buy. My hospital is running uhf 460mhz. One channel on repeater with a talk around on the rx end and one simplex frequency seperate. The repeater is located approx 15 miles away however on a very high mountain. They are a single story building in most areas and some 2 stories for maintenance areas and some labs. But they do not have a issue with dead spots on the hospital property which is 2 football fields in size. They get coverage around the city also when going to hardware stores or lunch and they need to communicate with another. You may get a shop who already has repeaters licensed or can get it and demo a repeater frequency out on site with handhelds to see coverage and dead spots if any exist. Allot of factors exist when picking out what you need. Those 2 options would probably be the cheaper end for you, if you already have equipment you may be able to use it and just lease the frequency and repeater usage and a simplex channel. But before buying or leasing you definitely want a demo done on site. Some may offer this for a fee some free if they think they will have a new customer. Third you could get more money and have a on site repeater put in, either uhf or 800mhz. Conventional use would seem more legible for your use. If your hospital uses a local TRS since most do for meat wagons rolling in on med channels or local med channels depending or circumstances you may be able to contact the authority in charge of it and have a talkgroup on the system, this could go either way paying your end for fees or I have known some to be given one since it is part of infrastructure per say and law enforcement and fire can utilize that talkgroup if a event occured at the facility. If the locals run conventional then conventional would be your best option or the wifi voip. You mentioned parking lot dead spots. This could be solved also depending on how you go about it with the wifi voip.
Ya I think we're gona try out some 800mhz P25 radios, I really wanted VHF radios to work so they could double as scanners so we could hear when suicidal, combative, or in custody patients are inbound. And I already know that no shops have community repeaters that will work for us. And our hospital tower is 5 stories. We domonatrated on a trbo connect plus system but that didn't work at all and nether did trbo simplex.
 
S

SARCommCoord

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#9
First off, don't tell me what I do and don't need. My boss wants encryption. AND my boss wants parking lot coverage THIS year. We don't want to wait around till they out of the blue decide to put access points on the roof. Bottom line it wouldn't benefit anyone other that security, the nurses don't need ASCOM coverage (wifi phones) in the parking lots.

Secondly I WILL use MURS/GMRS if I want to. I have the CPS and I will be programming these radios. The FCC isn't going to roll through town anytime soon looking to bust hospital security operating on unlicensed frequencies at 5 instead of 3 watts, encrypted. Besides UHF or VHF probably isn't going to work anyways so we will probably end up getting a license for an 800mhz frequency and use secure XTS2500s simplex. We also have multiple outbuildings where the Wifi ASCOM phones don't work. Getting working wifi in those buildings is gona be $$$ alone, not to mention the icom radios themselves plus the controller.
With an attitude like that, you will be out of a job shortly. Several individuals here have given you good LEGAL advice, You are choosing to forego that advice and operate ILLEGALLY. All it takes is a screenshot of this page and an email to the FCC, and I guarantee they will be rolling through your town. Rules are rules. If you do not want to build a proper radio system, then don't come here asking for help.
 
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#10
First off, don't tell me what I do and don't need. My boss wants encryption. AND my boss wants parking lot coverage THIS year. We don't want to wait around till they out of the blue decide to put access points on the roof. Bottom line it wouldn't benefit anyone other that security, the nurses don't need ASCOM coverage (wifi phones) in the parking lots.

Secondly I WILL use MURS/GMRS if I want to. I have the CPS and I will be programming these radios. The FCC isn't going to roll through town anytime soon looking to bust hospital security operating on unlicensed frequencies at 5 instead of 3 watts, encrypted. Besides UHF or VHF probably isn't going to work anyways so we will probably end up getting a license for an 800mhz frequency and use secure XTS2500s simplex. We also have multiple outbuildings where the Wifi ASCOM phones don't work. Getting working wifi in those buildings is gona be $$$ alone, not to mention the icom radios themselves plus the controller.

Don't cop an attitude here. Your the one that came to the group looking for help. If you don't like the answers, well then sorry, but that's the facts and way of life in the radio world.

If your so knowledgeable and have already made up your mind, then why have you wasted the time of others on here that you asked for help from and now want to ignore?
 

code3kid

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#11
Don't cop an attitude here. Your the one that came to the group looking for help. If you don't like the answers, well then sorry, but that's the facts and way of life in the radio world.

If your so knowledgeable and have already made up your mind, then why have you wasted the time of others on here that you asked for help from and now want to ignore?
Don't try to tell me he wasn't being condescending. "A few things that should be really obvious" "you will not" "You dont need encryption for hospital security. 99% of your traffic is not privileged" like he knows how we use (or plan to use) our radios.

Everyone else here has given their ideas in a very kind and respectful manner and I value those responses.
 

kmi8dy

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#12
go to push to talk cell phones. fast, secure and cheap. you can have them by tuesday afternoon. if your county sheriff has p25-1 or 2 see if they will put the hospital on their system. they do that here were i live with hospitals and collages, then all you have to do is buy the radios, or lease. and dito with madrabbitt, sarcommcord, jim202. sounds like your affraid to talk to your supervisor, and tell him enc is not needed. if patient is coming in by ground ambulance or air ambulance their is no reason security needs to know anything about the patient because er has already been contacted. also security ( rent a cops or in house security does not need to know anything hippa related, they are not privledged just because their security. and when you speak of unruly patients thats the job for the cops. god forbid if one of your security people mishandles a pateint, causes injury or more injuries the lawsuites will be forth coming. unarmed security is a " observe and report " situation. but tell that to some of the security people, they think they are "rambo" in disguise.
 
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kmi8dy

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#14
i have no idea, just start calling cell phone distributers and ask them if they have " push to talk " cell phones. tell them the number you need and total costs.
 

code3kid

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#15
go to push to talk cell phones. fast, secure and cheap. you can have them by tuesday afternoon. if your county sheriff has p25-1 or 2 see if they will put the hospital on their system. they do that here were i live with hospitals and collages, then all you have to do is buy the radios, or lease. and dito with madrabbitt, sarcommcord, jim202. sounds like your affraid to talk to your supervisor, and tell him enc is not needed. if patient is coming in by ground ambulance or air ambulance their is no reason security needs to know anything about the patient because er has already been contacted. also security ( rent a cops or in house security does not need to know anything hippa related, they are not privledged just because their security. and when you speak of unruly patients thats the job for the cops. god forbid if one of your security people mishandles a pateint, causes injury or more injuries the lawsuites will be forth coming. unarmed security is a " observe and report " situation. but tell that to some of the security people, they think they are "rambo" in disguise.
You obviously know absolutely nothing about hospital security. We are privileged and do need to know the names of certain patients. I.e. drug seekers, previously combative patents, previously trespassed, the list goes on. Our job is to be first responders to code grays. (combative patient or visitor) It is not uncommon for us to have to go hands a couple times a week and place them in restraints. It is not uncommon for medical staff to be assaulted and we need to intervene. We are sometimes first responders to domestic violence, CPS issues, room searches, amongst others. I would like to be able to get on the radio and say for example "So and so is in the ER, he was a code gray on his last visit" or "is previously trespassed". I can't say that in the clear. Our security officers have had thier noses broken and knives pulled on them. We have had to take people down with brute force and never had a legal issue because we know what we're doing. If I didn't go hands on with patients, I wouldn't be doing my job and I would get people injured and I would be fired. Hospital security is another animal compared to mall security. And we are working on getting tasers.

We don't have a local P25 TRS.
 
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cmjonesinc

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#16
If you do go vhf it's probably not very smart to double the radios as scanners. You're just begging to miss critical radio communications for your job if everyone is going to be scanning and listening to something else.
 

code3kid

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#17
If you do go vhf it's probably not very smart to double the radios as scanners. You're just begging to miss critical radio communications for your job if everyone is going to be scanning and listening to something else.
Priority scanning.
 

kmi8dy

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#18
see what i said " rambo types " i was armed security for 15 years, licensed and certified, shift supervisor. oic, firearms instructor, baton instructor, after retiring from a very large gm plant, paramedic position. so i do know most likely more then you. you seem to know all the answers, so please don't bother us if you are just posting here just to summarily decline our ideas and to demean us personally.
 
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code3kid

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#19
Anyone know how much a used 800mhz FM repeater would run? And what the FCC fees would look like for an 800mhz repeater pair? What about a 800mhz P25 repeater like a Motorola Quantar?
 
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#20
.......i am reminded in these types of threads of how happy it makes me to be out of the commercial 2 way industry (15 year veteran). Especially do not miss hospitals or high end hotel chains. MOTOTRBO made coverage solutions easier, but drove the cost per subscriber up. After doing hundreds of TRBO systems, ibsee the PTT over wifi and PTT over LTE killing off commercial mid sized systems.... TT
 
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