Smart Buildings / Smart Data Infrastructure
Planning for occupancy today not only focuses on smart design of architectural elements and furniture layout, but also must focus on the building’s structured cabling system that continuously must respond to changes in usage and occupancy.
Since all devices use the same cabling system, a structured cabling system should support all products and vendor platforms. In a build out, budgets can place emphasis on the upfront cost and investment, which is easy to calculate. However, investing in a modern high-end network will show greater returns over the life of the occupancy. Low quality cabling can lead to poor performance of the physical networks. Bandwidth bottlenecks and slower data transfers are two most often seen issues. Reliability of the system can be impacted and thus company performance is impacted.
More and more, employees are not assigned a permanent workspace. They are working in spaces within the building that meets the current need of a project they are working on. They expect a hassle free connectivity whether they are at their desk, in a break out room or lounging in the cafeteria. Sufficient access points in optimal locations are required as well as cabling that accommodates multiple users. Otherwise available bandwidth has to be shared amongst so many users that it becomes unusable.
The latest technologies, which offer the best shot at ‘future proofing’ networks, are Cat6a and Cat8 with standard RJ45 connectors rather than Cat7 systems that use proprietary connectors such as GG45. For most current building-based applications, this technology seems to have become obsolete. The same goes for Cat5 – even though many people think 1G bandwidth is all they’ll need for the foreseeable future.
Cabling should support several consecutive generations of active equipment and shouldn’t need to be replaced each time new active equipment comes along. Reliability, quality, ease of use and bandwidth need to be as high as possible. Ensuring your network lives up to a high standard, making it future proof and allowing it to support multiple generations of active equipment, could simply require no more than investing 1% extra on the total budget.