OHN Connectivity In Depth

For the vast majority of OHN members, the OHN connection is much like an internet connection with an improved Service Level Agreement (SLA). Simply stated, you plug it in and the OHN Network Operations Center (NOC) monitors your connection 24/7/365 to ensure it is working for you, and that your vendor is delivering up to their SLA. Your job is first to transfer existing traffic over to it and then identify current and future use HIT and telemedicine/education applications and/or services to move over to it as well.

OHN does not own the lines, the vendor does. And the contract is between you and your vendor—not OHN. The magic and value happens at both the Internet Service Provider level and the NOC. Each OHN vendor has committed to locally interconnect with all other participating service providers, such that your traffic automatically selects the most direct and efficient data path. Additionally, as a result of OHN's strict vendor SLA requirements, your vendor has committed to specific quality benchmarks, which the NOC then monitors 24/7/365. Should any problems occur, the NOC works to resolve them with you and your vendor. This is a large value to your organization and your vendor in isolating service problems from vendor-to-vendor (upstream, etc) for greater reliability. Whatever your connectivity and applications might be, all will work better with fewer problems than if a generic Internet connection was used. 

OHN Network Standards

  • 10 Mbps bidirectional minimum bandwidth
  • Layer 3 routed transport with options for Layer 2 site to site interconnects for larger organizations that wish to aggregate several sites
  • All OHN service providers must agree to peer with all other OHN service providers and any larger member organizations that wish to peer directly at NWAX or another participating local IXP (more information about this can be found here).
  • OHN SLA Requirements (some minor variability is acceptable)
    • 99.99% availability (note: this allows for roughly 52 min of unscheduled downtime per year)
    • Latency less than 45ms between end user site and NWAX and less than 150ms end to end
    • Packet Loss less than .3% between end user site and NWAX and less than 1% end to end
    • Jitter less than 9ms between end user site and NWAX and less than 30ms end to end
  • All non-Layer 2 connections must be monitored by the OHN NOC using our Leaf Node devices

OHN Network Design

OHN is a network of networks much like the public Internet but with a consistent quality commitment from all providers. The high-quality broadband connections provided by our local telecom vendors allow member organizations to connect on the Oregon Health Network through efficient BGP peering relationships at NWAX or other local exchanges. 

BGP Configuration and NWAX Connectivity

Large member organizations, which are Internet Service Providers in their own right, could choose to join one or more state-wide exchanges and peer via BGP directly with other participating networks. However, this is not a typical scenario for all organizations due to lack of internal resources and funding. In order to do this, the health care/education provider would need to join the exchange directly. More information about joining NWAX can be found on the NWAX website: www.nwax.net. Otherwise, you will connect with all other OHN members through your vendor service provider at NWAX. All OHN vendors (and participant members connecting directly at NWAX) are required to set up direct BGP peering with all other OHN service providers at NWAX. This all happens behind the scenes and there are no BGP peering requirements for OHN participant members.

It’s important to note that physical aggregation is possible and cuts down the cost for some installations. For example: you may be an organization that has three sites in any one geographic area. The vendor could build a small “cloud” to interconnect the three and then share an internet feed for all three. This is less expensive than three separate connections and for our purposes works just as well.

Connectivity outside the OHN Network

OHN uses several local Internet Exchange Points, including NWAX (Portland). This allows us to keep all OHN member traffic local to Oregon and in turn results in lower latency, jitter and packet loss. Much like the public Internet, the possibilities for using the OHN are limitless. OHN combines the freedom of the public Internet with the quality and stability of a monitored private network. You can use your OHN transport bandwidth to connect with any other sites on the OHN Network and then connect to anyone on the World Wide Web with your global Internet connection.