Fortunately, developing heterogeneous network (HetNet) technologies promise far more robust network connections, specifically by enabling mobile devices, and health sensors connected to them, to use both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G (cellular) networks simultaneously, steering network traffic to the best available network connection, or even to both at once. Inherently such networks bring together the macrocells centered on large cellular network towers, with a range of smaller network cells such as metrocells (metropolitan wireless hotspots), microcells including in airplanes, and picocells where high traffic loads are expected (e.g. in stadiums and airports).
As most users know, currently when a mobile device is connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, the connection can significantly degrade as they move around, but connection to an alternate Wi-Fi hotspot, or to a 3G/4G network centered on a large tower, only occurs when a connection is lost, and even then may not happen seamlessly.
The HetNet enables a device to be connected to both types of network simultaneously, selecting the best available at any moment to transmit and receive data. Future implementations will support data transmission through multiple connections simultaneously. The result will be a dense, multi-layered, high capacity network.
Critical mHealth applications, ones on which a patient’s health and even life may depend, are going to require the 'always available,' high capacity capabilities of HetNet.