Chris Bolinger of Summit Data was kind enough to email me with some additional information on their embedded Wi-Fi radios (original post here).

Summit plans to have its radios certified for CCX Version 3 in early June. Summit then will have the only compact flash WLAN radio certified for CCX at any version. To customers with a Cisco WLAN infrastructure, the Cisco Compatible seal provides assurance that the device will interoperate smoothly with the infrastructure.

Since most hospitals are Cisco shops, support for CCX (Cisco Compatible eXtensions) could have great appeal to IT departments. While Cisco has received credit for encouraging chip-set vendors to adopt all of the latest 802.11 standards, Cisco's CCX also includes some proprietary features. Specific CCX features include:

  • Support for WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2,
    including a variety of EAP types;
  • WMM (Wi-Fi
    Multimedia), a subset of 802.11e QoS (Quality of Service);
  • Fast roaming using the Cisco CCKM
    (Cisco Centralized Key Management) protocol;
  • And RF management features
    such as client RF scanning and reporting, as well as AP-specified
    maximum client transmission power.

Some of these features (you know, the standards) will work with any industry standard access point (AP), while others work only with Cisco infrastructure. General purpose PC oriented NICs (network interface cards) support CCX, while application specific devices (ASDs as Summit calls them) have for the most part gone without.

To Cisco's credit, rather than using proprietary tech in place of standards, they have adopted industry standards and used proprietary tech to add capabilities that lie beyond what standards can provide. The relentless message to medical device vendors is that, "It's a general purpose computing world, baby." The better they leverage the tools and capabilities of that world in their medical device systems, the better for everyone - the days of private networks, proprietary networks (WMTS), and dedicated VLANs are fading.

Pictured right is the Cisco Capatible logo that's earned through the CCX program for WLAN client devices.