Life Flight Network team loading a patient into a helicopter, featuring reliable connectivity solutions from Bigleaf Networks to enhance remote medical rescue missions

Life Flight Network's reliability at forefront of emergency care

Life Flight Network, the largest not-for-profit air medical transport provider in the United States, epitomizes the critical importance of reliability in emergency medical service. With a steadfast commitment encapsulated by their company promise, “There. When you need us,” they ensure exceptional care, transporting patients with their fleet of helicopters, airplanes, and ground ambulances from accident sites or remote communities, between medical facilities, or to specialists in other states. From the rugged mountains of Montana and the remote backcountry of Idaho to the sprawling plains of Washington and the picturesque Oregon coastline, Life Flight Network’s workforce of over 900 professionals is dedicated to delivering safe and expeditious care.

Seamless communication: Lifeline to critical care

Life Flight Network’s ability to communicate and coordinate seamlessly plays a pivotal role in their life-saving mission. From the moment a dispatch call is received, effective communication ensures crucial details are conveyed accurately and promptly to the pilot and medical crew. This communication is essential for both the highly trained professionals delivering ICU-level care en route and the medical team at the hospital preparing to receive the patient. This allows all teams to prepare and ensure swift adaptation to changing circumstances, including pilots and transport crews who are navigating transport efficiency amid varying weather conditions and flight logistics.

Inside Life Flight Network's network infrastructure

Life Flight Network operates a sophisticated infrastructure designed to ensure uninterrupted communication and access to critical resources across its numerous aircraft bases and operational sites. Facilitating communication between different base networks is pivotal, particularly for their systems like radio over IP used in their dispatch centers.

Additionally, their network supports critical applications such as Flight Vector and Rescue Net, instrumental in tracking flights, facilitating real-time decision-making, and managing billing processes. Life Flight Network operates a hub-and-spoke topology, with their hub in Beaverton, Oregon, which extends connections to all their sites through point-to-point VPN connections.

Control room at Life Flight Network featuring multiple monitors displaying real-time data and maps, powered by Bigleaf Networks' reliable connectivity solutions

In a bid to accommodate their continued growth, the organization is embarking on a transition journey, migrating their on-premises footprint into Azure. This strategic move underscores their commitment to evolving with technological advancements while maintaining the high standards of reliability and performance crucial for their life-saving operations.

How Bigleaf supports Life Flight Network's critical missions

Bigleaf emerges as a transformative solution in Life Flight Network’s network infrastructure, addressing challenges with remarkable efficacy. Through features like same IP failover, Life Flight Network achieves unparalleled reliability, seamlessly transitioning between circuits without disrupting operations or compromising connectivity. Leveraging public IPs provided by Bigleaf further enhances network stability and simplifies configuration processes, ensuring consistent performance across operational sites.

In managing VPN traffic, Bigleaf ensures it rides the most stable circuit while providing redundancy and failover for the VPN when a circuit goes down or degrades (without dropping the session) and prioritizes traffic type within the VPN tunnels—delivering stability otherwise unachievable when dependent on the performance of the public internet.

Bigleaf’s simplicity and reliability are hallmarks of its effectiveness in Life Flight Network’s operations. With Bigleaf, there’s no need for intricate configurations or constant monitoring; it simply works. “I really appreciate the simplicity of Bigleaf,” says Jonathan Knowles, Life Flight Network’s network engineer. “The entire network team is comprised of my manager and me; not having another thing I need to worry about or babysit is awesome.”

Bigleaf Wireless Connect: Elevating Life Flight's Network’s reliability in underserved areas

Emergency response team at a snowy location with a Life Flight helicopter, equipped with Bigleaf Networks connectivity for seamless communication during critical rescue operations

Bigleaf Wireless Connect adds to Life Flight Network’s arsenal of network solutions, providing essential redundancy and reliability particularly in areas where traditional connections are limited, but core operations and services are primarily centered. “Most of our bases are positioned in rural locations where, if someone were to have a horrible accident, you know, the worst day of their life, we would be able to get to them and then to a hospital much faster than with ground  transport,” Knowles describes.

Historically, Life Flight Network relied on point-to-point wireless solutions, but these often proved unreliable, with connections frequently dropping in and out unpredictably. More recently, the company has deployed Starlink in some of their locations as a primary circuit.

Bigleaf Wireless Connect offers a cost-effective and flexible solution for Life Flight Network’s diverse connectivity needs. “It’s absolutely crucial for us to have different flavors of connectivity because we can’t always get a hardline connection,” says Knowles. “We have such eclectic locations, from metro areas with millions of people to places that barely have a post office. To have another tool for backup is really great.”

Knowles further elaborates, “We’ve used other solutions but that adds another pane of glass to manage; whereas Wireless Connect is not only more affordable, but it’s managed by Bigleaf, which is more performant, in my opinion.”

With Bigleaf Wireless Connect, Life Flight Network gains peace of mind knowing that they have a robust backup solution in place, enhancing their overall network reliability and ensuring continuity of life-saving operations.

Experience transformation with Bigleaf and Bigleaf Wireless Connect

Unlock the transformative potential of Bigleaf and Bigleaf Wireless Connect to improve network reliability and performance. Enable uninterrupted operations, even in the most challenging environments. 

Do you have limited connectivity options? Contact us for a demo and learn how Bigleaf Wireless Connect can help.

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