The Impact of Healthcare Traffic Over H2H and M2M Networks During the Spread Phase of Pandemic Diseases
Recently, the coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread panic around the world. Modern technologies can be used to monitor and control this highly contagious disease. A plausible solution is to equip each patient who is diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 with sensors that can monitor various healthcare and location parameters and report them to the desired facility to control the spread of the disease. However, the simultaneous communication of numerous sensors installed in the majority of an area’s population results in a huge burden on existing Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The existing network becomes oversaturated because it has to manage two kinds of traffic in addition to normal traffic (text, voice, and video): healthcare traffic generated by a large number of sensors deployed over a huge population, and extra traffic generated by people contacting their family members via video or voice calls. In pandemics, e-healthcare traffic is critical and should not suffer packet loss or latency due to network overload. In this research, we studied the performance of existing networks under various conditions and predicted the severity of network degradation in an emergency. We proposed and evaluated three schemes (doubling bandwidth, combining LTE-A and LTE-M networks, and request queuing) for ensuring quality of service (QoS) of healthcare sensor (HCS) network traffic without perturbation from routine human-to-human or machine-to-machine communications. Finally, we simulated all proposed schemes and compared them with existing network scenarios. After analyzing the results, we conclude that our proposed queuing schemes performed well in all conditions and provide the best QoS for HCS traffic is never compromised, which is the ultimate goal of this research.