Building cabling: What is important when choosing a network solution?

The optimal IT network: Strategic issues & current trends

What long-term strategy are you pursuing with your company? This question may be unusual for many in a blog article on the subject of building cabling. But it is precisely this topic that is often neglected during planning. The consequences are felt afterwards when the local network offers too little flexibility or the bandwidth no longer meets the requirements. After all, the LAN network is where all the company's threads come together. It forms the basis for the functioning of the daily work routine.

Important factors for choosing the right network solution

There are many solutions for setting up a building infrastructure that fits the individual corporate strategy. In order to decide on the right cabling system, the most important framework conditions must be defined in advance, fundamental questions must be clarified and the target state must be defined. Are you pursuing a growth strategy, but cannot yet estimate how many network access points will be needed in 10 or 15 years? Do you want to establish yourself as a modern employer and transform the office building into a smart office in the near future? Do you rely on new working models with variable office spaces in combination with a home office concept? All these determinants are significant for the choice of a network solution. Depending on the company's own strategic orientation and already established building, IT and process structures, the challenges are different. It is often worthwhile to involve experts in the discussion. They are familiar with the current trends and can advise on which options make sense.

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Networking the classic way: Building cabling with low administrative effort

The most widespread network solution at present is a classic structured cabling system according to the DIN EN 50173 standard. Since all active components are centralised here, this system scores with a low administrative effort. A major drawback, however, is the lack of flexibility of the underlying architecture. This makes a subsequent expansion of the network very expensive. The costs for this are usually three times as high as those for the initial installation. Therefore, the art of planning lies in already taking into account potentially required end connections. The additional costs that arise from over-planning can be counteracted somewhat by using single- and double-sided pre-assembled fibre optic cables. For example, PreCONNECT® isoNET can save up to 5% of time on the construction site compared to conventional cabling systems through pre-assembly.

Network trend: Workplace 4.0 demands high flexibility

In fact, however, modern working models demand a high degree of flexibility. This is especially the case in companies that are growing rapidly. Offices are being restructured. Where there was an open-plan office before, there is now a creative space with group tables. New end connections are needed. A network solution that perfectly meets the requirements of the increasingly dynamic work processes in the office environment and offers a high degree of flexibility in spatial design is PreCONNECT® flexNET. The additional flexibility is achieved by interposing a passive copper consolidation point in the tertiary area. The great advantage: new end-user connections can be easily connected to the passive consolidation point and existing workstations can be relocated. And this can be done without disturbing ongoing operations.

Increasing data rates: High scalability as A & O

However, if high flexibility in spatial design is not enough for you, you have to go one step further. Network solutions such as PreCONNECT® smartNET play in the top class. In addition to flexible room design, the cabling system comes with a high degree of flexibility in bandwidth expansion and the possibility of allocating data rates individually. This is made possible by office distributors (OD), which are connected in the tertiary area to the passive collection point either in a star or ring configuration and, as distributed systems, replace the classic centralised floor distributors.

Individual bandwidth supports investment security of the network solution

The individual allocation of data rates is particularly advantageous in companies where there are departments with different needs in terms of network performance. For example, the development department`s requirements are different from those of the sales department when processing CAD files. With the high scalability of the bandwidth, the arguments of future viability and investment security obviously have to be taken into account. We have seen it in the past: There is no such thing as "too much" bandwidth. The demand for speed is constantly increasing. More and more devices are being integrated into the office network. Video communication is increasing. So is the power for PoE devices, the use of Thin Clients and the number of WLAN access points. Cloud applications and innovative collaboration tools are on the rise. The building network is also increasingly being extended to industrial environments and IoT applications. All of this requires ever-increasing bandwidth. With no end to this trend in sight, high scalability is the name of the game.

Power over Ethernet: innovative network solution for Smart Offices

In the Smart Office area, PoE applications (Power over Ethernet), i.e. the power supply of end devices via a data cable, are becoming increasingly important. It's all about networking "things": Cameras, access control systems, lighting, room air conditioning and much more. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that this technology cannot be implemented with every cabling system. A major challenge is the heat problem that arises especially when long copper cables are used. This is not uncommon with classically structured cabling but is eliminated from the outset by the innovative architecture of PreCONNECT® smartNET. Since the tertiary cabling is reduced to a minimum here, the power loss that occurs with PoE is significantly reduced. However, the integration of IoT devices is extremely demanding on bandwidth. The Smart Office can only function if sufficient bandwidth is available. Therefore, it is crucial to rely on a network solution that focuses on the future-oriented fibre optic technology, which also offers sufficient scope for future application scenarios.

Would you like to learn more about Rosenberger OSI's network solutions? Then watch the recording of our webtalk on the topic "Networking the smart way: How your building network keeps pace with the requirements of the working world 4.0". Here we contrast the cabling systems and discuss how needs-based building cabling can contribute to secure and efficient digitalisation.