Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bandwidth Requirements For Medical Imaging Systems

Medical imaging systems are requiring higher bandwidth. With the emphasis on real-time performance and higher resolutions, the amount of data processing needed may soon reach staggering levels. Using input sensors to receive large amounts of information along with digital signal processors (DSPs) to turn that analog input into digital data, medical systems are leaning toward backplane-based chassis with high performance. Traditionally, many systems use standards-based architectures like CompactPCI bus or VMEbus. But with backplane performance hitting the limitations of standard architectures, medical industry system designers are looking to new switched-fabric technologies that offer high performance and high reliability at a reasonable cost.

Medical imaging systems—such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning—are the most in need of higher performance. The intrachassis traffic between the processor boards, communications boards, display, sensor device, and storage is vast. For real-time information and clearer, higher-resolution images, the data need to travel at high speeds without errors. Not only is the data rate important, but the processing must be reliable. With redundancy and inherent reliability, the system can be highly available, with up to 99.999% uptime.

In many medical applications, latency and throughput are important requirements. In an ultrasound system, latency is critical because the technician uses the real-time image to properly position the transducer. Latency is less critical in CT scan equipment, although it is still an important factor. Both systems require the performance to scale as processing elements are added to a system. If all of the processing boards are contending for a common bus, performance could actually degrade as the number of processing nodes increases.

Bus-based architectures are running out of bandwidth for today's medical imaging solutions. The migration to switched-fabric systems is the natural evolution path. It is important that a switched-fabric architecture already have all of the necessary hardware and software components. A switched-fabric system should also be compatible with PCI-based systems, so that much of a manufacturer's previous investment in the system can be preserved. Regardless....sufficient bandwidth for operating the total facility system (all applications) is critical. At a minimum the system load will require DS3 bandwidth or OC3 bandwidth .... in larger medical facilities even an OC12 or OC48. If available a high capacity ethernet or fiber network may work, likely at a lower cost too. To assist in determining exact requirements it's highly recommended to engage the services of an independent technical consultant such as Business Bandwidth Solutions. The support provided by is NO cost ... and will save you time, effort, money, and aggravation.

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