Case Study: Network design/implementation refresh at CAMH

October 7, 2022
July 28, 2011

The Center for Addiction and Mental Health is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.CAMH expressed a need for a high-capacity, high-bandwidth network to meet their evolving business requirements. Increasing bandwidth demands, more sophisticated clinical applications, and lack of flexibility drove the approval to fund a new network infrastructure. The technical requirements were tendered and MOBIA Technology Innovations, and partner Brocade Networks, were selected from the list of respondents due to the technological strength and competitive pricing of their proposal.


Deliver exceptional patient care and research capabilities by upgrading the existing networking infrastructure to support server virtualization, video conferencing, data archiving, and power over Ethernet. In the process, increase physical and logical network redundancy, port capacity, and available bandwidth. The solution also needed to be future proof and centrally-manageable. Do all of this while keeping the existing network fully operational 24/7/365.


MOBIA successfully designed and implemented a high-performance, fully-redundant, and easily-scalable IP network utilizing hardware and software from IP network solution partner, Brocade Networks. Brocade leads in the industry in providing comprehensive enterprise and carrier level network solutions. Their solutions are used in over 90 percent of Global 1000 data centers as well as in enterprise LANs and the largest service provider networks.The project scope consisted of removing and replacing the existing IP networking hardware at the facility’s three main campuses. A phased approach was taken with the Queen St. site being implemented first, followed by the College St. and Russell St. buildings.

Solution highlights included:

  • Technology Leader – Implemented a solution that allowed CAMH to be a technology leader in the health care industry using hardware and software from Brocade Networks. FastIron SX switches utilized at the core, and FCX series switches installed at the network edge. High speed NetIron CER series routers installed for WAN redundancy. Centralized management handled by IronView Network Management software.
  • High Availability – Solution included physical redundancy for power supplies, switch fabrics, and fiber uplinks. Edge switches took advantage of Brocade IronStack hitless stacking technology. Dual core switches were provisioned to provide path redundancy from edge to core, as well as logical redundancy through the use of protocols like VRRPe, RSTP, and OSPF.
  • Performance & Capacity - Increased the overall core to edge bandwidth from 1Gb to 10Gb in larger network closets and provided increased overall port capacity with an extra 15% of total available for future expansion.
  • Minimal User Impact - In order to facilitate smooth transition of end-user devices from the existing legacy Cisco network to the new Brocade network, the core layers of both networks were interconnected so that both could be functional simultaneously. This alleviated the need to cut-over all hardware at one time, therefore decreasing the impact to end-users and to CAMH’s business as usual. Brocade edge switches were then installed alongside existing equipment, and users were migrated to the new hardware with minimal impact.
  • Education - Worked with CAMH’s internal and contracted resources during implementation to educate them on the administration/configuration of the system and common troubleshooting steps. Also provided a dedicated training session for the centralized management software component. Comprehensive network documentation provided at the conclusion of each project phase.

The design not only provided for increased network redundancy and capacity, but also addressed logical concerns regarding the existing framework. Customer issues addressed in the implemented design included the following;

  • Flat Network – Existing network consisted of a single subnet for all end-user and infrastructure devices. A VLAN scheme was created to segregate users based on department in order to more efficiently apply security policies. Also, devices requiring traffic prioritization such as VoIP phones, video conferencing, and IP security systems were placed in separate VLAN’s and QoS policies applied.
  • Power over Ethernet – Injectors were being utilized to provide power for VoIP phones, wireless access points, and other PoE capable devices. The introduction of FCX series switches from Brocade allowed the provision of power to be managed and prioritized from the edge switch, negating the need for extra hardware. A high PoE power budget in the FCX also provides for seamless integration of PoE+ devices with no additional cost or effort to the customer.
  • Centralized Management – Addressed the customers need for a centralized network management platform by implementing Brocade IronView Network Management software. This provided the client’s IT resources with a tool to simplify hardware configuration, issue troubleshooting, and network monitoring.
  • Security – Designed and implemented configurations to improve the existing level of security on the network. Some examples include;
  • ACL’s were created to restrict traffic to/from specific subnets
  • Telnet/HTTP access to hardware restricted in favor of SSHv2 (for hardware CLI access), and HTTPS (for management software web access)
  • TFTP restricted in favor of SCP for all config file transfers
  • RADIUS authentication utilized for switch logins vs. local users

Hardware and Software

Both hardware and management software were provided by partner Brocade Networks. Brocade is an industry leader in providing reliable, high-performance network solutions that help the world’s leading organizations transition smoothly to a virtualized world where applications and information reside anywhere. Brocade combines a proven track record of expertise, innovation, and new technology development with open standards leadership and strategic partnerships with the world's leading IT companies. This extensive partner ecosystem enables truly best-in-class business solutions. Details on the products used on this project at CAMH are below;


Investigation, implementation, and documentation for this solution was completed by MOBIA’s Information Technology Group (ITG).

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