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Cable Infrastructure

How important is cabling? Cabling, cable pathways, and equipment rooms are long term. Many manufacturers provide 20-25 year warranties. So, what is initially designed and installed is important. Cable may seem mundane but constant advancements in cable throughput, reductions in potential interference and increased low voltage power over the telecom cable requires the installation of the latest cable technology.

A smart building will take advantage of similar cable standards for IT (EIA/TIA 568) and BAS (EIA/TIA 862) and utilize the same cable types (twisted pair copper cable and fiber optic cable). This provides an opportunity to reduce the number of cable contractors, reduce coordination from the construction manager, and share cable pathways. In addition, one cable can supply communications and provide low voltage power to devices on the network via Power over Ethernet (POE). Thus POE eliminates one power cable, and reduces material and installation time and costs.

The smart buildings approach is to maximize the use of the structured cable plant for access control, video surveillance, building automation, and other building systems. A smart building will also supplement the wired infrastructure with the use of wireless systems; deploying Wi-Fi throughout a building, installing a distributed antenna systems (DAS), and using Zigbee, Enocean and RFID in building control systems and asset management.

All of the telecom cabling generally terminates in and is managed from the telecommunications room. These rooms should be served by dual telecommunication entrances, physically separated dual power feeds, and emergency power. The telecommunications rooms need to be remotely monitored for security, water, temperature, and seismic events. The entire infrastructure: cabling, equipment, racks, and wireless access points needs to be labeled with predetermined naming conventions and documented for asset management and daily operations. As IT continues to penetrate our buildings, and our lives, this infrastructure becomes increasingly critical, and a key attribute of a smart building.

How can building owners and designers save money in specifying and installing a building's technology infrastructure? Or more importantly, how can they make sure the money spent is for the best value? Here are a couple tips on saving upfront construction costs and ensuring longer term value for the building.

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