RCare Mobile Optimization

We’ve observed several scenarios Wi-Fi connectivity. We’ve seen some facilities that just don’t have quality Wi-Fi, or simply don’t have quality dedicated IT staff. We’ve made several changes to RCare Mobile and recommendations for improvements that we’ve seen drastically improve Wi-Fi issues at several facilities.


First thing to remember is that not all routers and access points are created equal. A typical access point usually provides a coverage radius of 300 feet under normal conditions. DO NOT assume you have a typical access point or “normal conditions”. If adverse conditions prevent data from reaching its destination, it is referred to as packet loss. When you have enough latency and packet loss, the RCare Mobile devices will log out until there is enough available bandwidth for you to reconnect with an access point. Total bandwidth represents the total amount of digital space you have to transfer data. When the total required bandwidth of all your devices exceeds total available, the network cannot properly receive all the data.
Scenario 1:
Voice quality can diminish because of environmental RF interference, such as reinforced concrete. Stairwells and elevators in particular have been known to cause Wi-Fi dead spots or poor quality reception. An audio codec encodes voice into data, and then it transfers that data through the network to its final destination. If there is interference or too many calls at once (too much data), then the bandwidth becomes congested and begins to drop packets.

Solution 1:

We have begun implementing an upgraded audio codec into our servers that converts audio to use less bandwidth, thus taking up less digital space. This codec utilizes a process similar to what Skype and Google use known as “Loss Concealment”, which allows for greater packet loss without dropping call quality.

Scenario 2:

A bad installation can be caused by several things including loose coax cables, poor and/or not enough quality wireless access points that can cause significant packet loss. Most often, we hear from technicians at a facility with RCare Mobile issues that the Wi-Fi there is very poor, but this isn’t always the case. Most phones today have sim cards that use 4G or LTE connections from external towers. When the Wi-Fi drops in and out, the sim card reaches out to a cell tower to fill in the gaps instantaneously without the user knowing about it. RCare Mobile phones do not have a sim card.

Solution 2:

RCM software version 1.49 or later will include a Wi-Fi optimization option in the admin settings to combat these various issues. This feature will lower latency and packet loss, but will drain the battery quicker to achieve this. This feature will be automatically enabled and if the Wi-Fi is not having problems, you can disable this feature to save battery life.
Scenario 3:
You can also have too many access points or improperly channeled access points. Even experienced networking staff may not configure their access points in a way that optimizes RCare Mobile. Each channel covers a very specific frequency range and these frequencies overlap with adjacent and nearby channels. So having two access points close together on channels 1 and 2 will create more problems because it limits available bandwidth. In this scenario, when caregivers roam the facility and the phone attempts to leap to the adjacent access point, you guessed it, packet loss. Finally, access points should overlap one another to ensure there are not any “dead spots”.
Solution 3:
Facilities should configure their access points to channels 1, 6, and 11, as they have no overlapping frequencies. It is also important to remember not to have access points that are on the same or directly adjacent channels that are providing overlapping physical coverage. If you have two access points, both on channel 6 trying to cover one wing, they will be competing for available transmission time on that channel.
Most of our facilities will not have to implement these changes, and even the ones that are having issues most likely won’t need to apply all three. However, we’ve now identified 3 potential scenarios with three separate solutions for various Wi-Fi related problems. These are situations you need to consider and discuss with the network providers before going live with a system.