Dickenson County, population approximately 15,000, is nestled in the southwestern part of Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. Small and rural, the community has struggled for years to secure adequate telecommunication services: to this day, some homes tucked away in the valleys and hills have no Internet service at all.
Because of this, Dickenson County Behavioral Health Services plays a particularly critical role in sustaining the overall welfare of its community. “DCBHS isn’t just the county’s only comprehensive provider of mental health and substance abuse services,” explained Kevin Mullins, DCBHS’s Executive Director. “Many people in the community also rely on our Wi-Fi to apply for jobs and to secure essential services.”
Which means that the people of Dickenson County depend on DCBHS—and its Wi-Fi network—more than most communities depend on small clinics. And so, in 2020, when DCBHS decided to upgrade its network, they considered the needs of the whole Dickenson County community when choosing a solution. That’s why they chose ENA Air’s managed Wi-Fi service.
DCBHS, with a staff of just 53 people, is too small to maintain a permanent IT team. As a result, before switching to ENA Air, the clinic had terrible Wi-Fi. “We had just two off-the-shelf routers in the building,” said Brandon Bise, Clinical Services Director.
These routers, designed for personal residences, affected the ability of the DCBHS team to support the Dickenson community and respond to its needs. Most of the crucial areas in the building were barely getting a signal—if any signal at all. “It was so bad and choppy,” explained Mr. Bise. “Sometimes we were only getting 15 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.”
Since DCBHS lacked the personnel and expertise required to design—and maintain—a professional grade network, they determined that to best serve the Dickenson community they must deploy a managed Wi-Fi solution.
Because ENA has provided DCBHS with Internet service since 2016, Mr. Mullins knew that ENA offered the most important managed service differentiator: excellent customer support.
“We have had such good customer support from them over the years with our Internet service that I would do nothing but sing praises for ENA,” he said. “I think it’s a no-brainer decision to go with a trusted company.”
ENA sent one of its experienced wireless engineers to design and build DCBHS’s new network from the ground up. To ensure the new network’s success, he and his team methodically followed this process:
- First, he conducted a survey of the site.
- Second, he installed a new switch to provide comprehensive coverage.
- Third, he redesigned the network to carefully place the access points.
- Fourth, he established a firewall to better protect patient data.
- Fifth, the team performed a heat map to verify coverage.
- Lastly, he called DCBHS several times to confirm the network’s performance.
“ENA’s engineers did a phenomenal job installing this,” concluded Mr. Bise. “You guys at ENA have always been great to work with.”
“I can’t even put into words how much ENA Air has improved the way that we flow as an agency. We’re not only able to reach out to our customers via telehealth and Zoom meetings,” said Mr. Mullins, “but we can also offer Wi-Fi to kids and the community with an outdoor access point. I would definitely recommend other organizations like ours to speak to ENA about getting Wi-Fi services.”
Indeed, ENA Air has transformed the way DCBHS can deliver essential health services. The clinic can offer group counseling sessions without interruption. Thanks to an external access point to offer connectivity to students and others in the community, DCBHS can support the community even during the pandemic. The clinic can also connect and collaborate with other healthcare providers in the state to connect patients to the right mental health professionals.
“You just can’t place a value on what ENA Air has already turned us loose to do,” concluded Mr. Bise. “And you certainly can’t place a value on what ENA Air will empower us to do in the future for our community.”