A tech-savvy workforce and requirements from IoT, predictive analytics and cloud-based technologies are increasing the demand for a future-proof network cabling architecture inside of commercial office buildings. While most building owners delegate cabling decisions to IT staff and facility managers, it’s important to understand the ROI benefits of an updated cabling infrastructure.
There are two necessary components required to install a proper cabling infrastructure that is capable of meeting both the demand from technology vendors and building occupants. First is the cabling itself and second is the way in which it is structured.
Advantages for Category 6A cables
When considering cable infrastructures using the right kind of cable is essential since it the fundamental source for transmission of data and connectivity. High-performance data networks and local area networks (LANs) cannot perform well without appropriate cables and connectors. In the past five years, Category 6(CAT-6) cable and connectors have become a requirement for new buildings to support Gigabit network applications and support bandwidths of up to 250MHz.
Category 6A (CAT-6A) the “a” stands for augmented, which supports data rates of 10G up to 100 meters and a bandwidth of up to 500MHz has begun to growing popularity. Many data centers, hospitals and universities have adopted CAT-6A as a new minimum requirement.
There are significant advantages of investing in CAT-6A cabling such as increased 10x network speed compared with its closest alternative CAT-6. In addition to increased speed, CAT-6A cabling provides twice the bandwidth which makes it the best support for NBASE-T Multi-Gig applications.
While upgrading to CAT-6A cabling can cost 10% to 20% more depending on network architectures and local labor markets it’s a small price to pay for future-proofed network infrastructure.
The majority of emerging technologies like high bandwidth wireless applications augmented reality and artificial intelligence, require the fast and efficient transmission of data from sensors and devices and CAT-6A is by far the best option in the marketplace today.
Now that we have the cables, the second most important component of installing a future-proof cabling system is the way in which you organize them.
What is zone cabling?
Zone cabling is a structure that runs cables from the telecommunications room to consolidation points or predetermined distances in the ceiling of buildings by dividing floor space into evenly sized areas where every device or system in that zone to connected to a single specified point.
By deploying consolidation points in the ceiling of each cell, buildings can provide secure connections to the core network. Once a zoned cabling system is installed running a CAT-6A cable is all that’s needed to deploy or modify a range of current and future applications.
Pre-cabled office spaces offer key advantages to building owners and tenants, such as the flexibility to connect any system or device in each zone, a more simplified infrastructure, lower maintenance costs.
A zone infrastructure replaces countless individual cables running from switches in the telecom room with an orderly system of connection points with shorter-run cables to devices in each zone and eliminates the need to run new cables through walls every time a new application is added. Instead, the cabling connections exist in each zone which can offer between 30 to 40 connections in each consolidation point which can be used to add applications.
The zone structure lowers costs by eliminating the need to run every connection all the way from the telecommunications room, and because installers will use shorter cables to connect devices and systems, it takes less time- saving labor and materials for owners.
Harnessing Power over Ethernet
The increasing use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) to power devices such as LED lighting, Wi-Fi access points and security cameras through the use of CAT-6 or CAT-6A will also help owners to ensure that their infrastructure is future-proof and compatible with new applications and technologies in the in building tech marketplace.
Further, a CAT-6A and zone cabling infrastructure is well-suited to handle requirements as the industry is moving towards developing more technologies that use a single medium (PoE) to both power and transmit data.
Improving ROI through cabling
Benefits of installing or updating network cabling are multi-fold. Not only do these updates save money in the long run and help to retain existing tenants by enabling them to deploy new applications quickly, but a proper cabling infrastructure can also increase the speed a which building owners can procure new tenants.
When a tenant walks into a potential office space and sees that it has the proper infrastructure to deploy their IT systems immediately, it becomes a massive competitive advantage over other leasing options that may still need to build out the networking structure.