HPE Aruba supplies network infrastructure to floating hospital to aid COVID-19 patients in Italy


Apr 4, 2020

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), has supplied and installed network infrastructure on board the GNV Splendid, a large passenger ferry owned by the MSC Group, which has been transformed into a floating hospital to battle the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The GNV Splendid, moored in Genoa, Italy, has been converted to provide additional hospital space and medical treatment for COVID-19 patients in Italy. Thanks to the combined efforts of HPE, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), MSC Cruises, and other partners, a network consisting of 70 access points and over 4 kilometers of cable has been successfully installed, providing Wi-Fi coverage for healthcare workers and patients across the various decks of the ship.

In addition to supporting medical efforts, including data transfer to and from Genoa hospital, the network infrastructure will also improve the day-to-day experience for patients onboard, allowing them full internet connectivity during their stay. The network also allows ambulance crews to provide real-time updates on the status of patients as they arrive, allowing them to anticipate the needs of individuals before they board.

Crucial to the rapid implementation of the project was the contribution of Aruba partners Esprinet, Mantero Sistemi, MavianMax and EI Towers. Their solutions enable guaranteed online access, making it possible to connect to the internal network of the San Martino Hospital in Genoa for up-to-the-minute information sharing, as well as ready access to patient medical records for healthcare professionals on the ship.

The extensive experience of the Aruba team in the field of naval wireless infrastructure allowed them to rapidly design and deploy an effective network to support onboard medical personnel and patients. Responding to the urgent and unprecedented situation, the Aruba team worked with experienced electricians onboard the GNV Splendid to overcome the various obstacles inherent to this kind of implementation, including the need to ensure functionality for various types of devices, and delivering connectivity within a large metal structure across multiple decks and watertight compartments.

“We thank the Hewlett Packard Enterprise team and Mantero Sistemi for offering up their cutting-edge technological solutions, know-how and expertise, collaborating in the implementation of the project that we initiated together with RINA, ASL, Civil Protection and other partners. Through their quick response and ability to innovate in the face of this unprecedented event we were able to guarantee connectivity for medical workers and patients onboard,” said Barbara Poli, GNV Chief Information and Technology Officer.

The hospital ship has been converted to support 25 patients initially with cabins converted into single rooms for use as isolation chambers. The ship has also been equipped with oxygenators and will be used for delivering treatment to coronavirus patients who need low-intensity care and for recovery. If needed, the ship can potentially increase its capacity to house approximately 400 patients.

In such a critical moment for our country and the world, we felt a duty to make a contribution to those who are on the front lines every day to halt the spread of the virus and save lives. We did not hesitate to join in this vital initiative of GNV and MSC Cruises,” commented Stefano Venturi, Vice President and Managing Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Italy. "We will continue to support the global effort to fight coronavirus however we can."

“Being able to apply our skills and technology to deliver such an important project is a source of great pride. Our experience has allowed us to be focused and fast in implementation, anticipating challenges before they arise. Our technological choice for the vessel was the new Wi-Fi 6 technology and Aruba 515 Access Points, supporting the 802.11ax standard, allowing for the best performance among a large number of connected devices including doctors’ laptops and tablets, medical devices, mobile phones that allow patients to be connected with their families and, devices allowing crew to monitor the onboard operations. We also connected an off board screening area, allowing applications and data sharing between on-board and off-board operations," said Fabio Tognon, Country Manager for Italy at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

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