Cabling Demands for Digital Buildings

2017 to be the year of the digital building, and there has certainly been progress in this direction as predicted. In fact, according to Deloitte, sensor deployment in commercial buildings could potentially grow by 79% between 2015 and 2020.

Support for Internet of Things (IoT) is growing, bringing standalone building systems onto one platform. As all these systems and devices are being connected on a single IP network, they can be integrated to gather data, make automatic adjustments and provide intelligence and analytics for informed decision-making to reduce operating costs and energy use, increase occupant satisfaction, improve safety and reduce time spent on troubleshooting and maintenance.

In some cases, existing infrastructure are already being put to the test due to cloud adoption. As augmented and virtual reality move into the workplace – whether office settings, hospitals, hospitality environments or educational institutions – and more devices join the network, demands placed on infrastructure will become more intense. (And even though this newer technology is not widely deployed yet – check back in a few years.)

What demands do these digital buildings place on cabling infrastructure? A well-designed, high-performance cabling infrastructure is what brings IoT and digital buildings to life. All of the data (and power, in most cases) required for these devices and applications is traveling via the network’s category cabling. Without it, devices wouldn’t be able to communicate to each other, gather and relay important information or be controlled and adjusted remotely.

As digital buildings take over, it’s important to keep in mind the demands they place on a structured cabling system.

Demand No. 1: More Power Needs

Digital building cabling will need to support Power over Ethernet (PoE). This cabling technology safely transmits power and data over a single standard network cable, allowing devices – cameras, lighting systems, wireless access points, etc. – to be deployed anywhere. This allows remote control and data collection on one infrastructure. As device complexity continues to increase, the amount of power these devices need also increases (up to 100W in some cases). Outdated cabling systems won’t be able to safely and successfully carry this power level.

 

Demand No. 2: Increased Temperatures

Running more power inside a network cable can increase the cable’s internal temperature. When cables get hotter, insertion loss increases. This can cause unplanned downtime and may ultimately damage the cable, hurting its long-term performance.

If cables are tightly packed in trays and pathways, temperatures could rise even more because they can’t dissipate. When a cable’s temperature exceeds the recommended level, it may need to be de-rated – which means it won’t reach the full length promised.

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