enterprise space (i.e., buildings, campuses and venues), smart concepts are being
implemented at a steady cadence. This is
because communications infrastructure that supports smart building applications
is universal, flexible, and future-ready. Interestingly, the current situation in
the public domain (the world outside of the
enterprise space) is somewhat comparable to the early
days of building cabling.
cabling – introduced in the early 1990s by AT&T – was initially branded SYSTIMAX
(now a CommScope brand). Back then, every application
had its own cabling solution and differed by media and/or topology. Twisted pair,
shielded cable, coax, Twinax, and dual-coax (among others) were the options on the
media side. From a topology point of view,
there were also various choices: bus-topology, ring-topology, daisy- chain-topology,
and star-topology. When structured cabling
was introduced, many of these media and topologies disappeared, leaving a single
common cabling infrastructure for both voice and data.
about operational applications such as sensors and various systems including HVAC,
lighting, access-control and security? Most of these applications could run over
twisted pair solutions, while others required some adjustment. In the late 1990s,
structured cabling solutions were introduced for most building applications. Instead
of outlets placed at floor level, the outlets were positioned above the ceiling
and structured cabling solutions for the Intelligent Building Solution (IBS) was
CLICK TO TWEET: CommScope's Jan Honig explains how building a smart city infrastructure should start with building the foundation.
all new buildings make use of an IBS solution with a flexible Universal
Connectivity Grid (UCG); however, it is important
to note that IBS solutions must use Category 6A cabling to support future applications
and easy upgrades. Indeed, even the latest Wi-Fi 6, intelligent lighting and active-Distributed
Antenna System (DAS) solutions can run over
a future rich UCG with Category 6A cabling. This infrastructure is often
referred to as the fourth utility.
we see in the public space nowadays? It seems that the public space is approximately
15 years behind the private sector or enterprise environment; However, we see twisted
pair rolling out to houses by incumbent operators. Some operators are also rolling
(FTTH) networks, while others use coax for
their data and video applications. In addition, companies are implementing fiber-to-the-business
(FTTB), as well as fiber-to-the-antenna (FTTA) solutions. Last, but certainly not
least, railways and water management companies operate their own dedicated communications
need to be frequently excavated for install and repair, causing gridlock and creating
an inconvenience for pedestrians because of the plethora of disparate cabling
solutions. It is important to chart a more sustainable course for the future. More
specifically, effective deployment strategies can be based on successful Enterprise
rollouts. For example, what’s the best media of choice for the future? Most likely
this is fiber combined with wireless. Remember: no wireless without fiber. Let’s
start by building a Universal Fiber Grid (UFG) throughout smart
cities with sufficient fiber for future applications,
just like we have seen in the enterprise.
of potential future applications include FTTH, FTTA, and FTTB. With 5G deployments kicking off around the country, we must be ready
for densification (more masts in a city). Specifically, the fiber-grid should be
flexible enough to hook-up a plethora of street furniture that will support the
antennas of the future. The IoT sensors that will be installed can communicate with
or via 4G, LoRa, Wi-Fi, 5G, and other protocols.
be emphasized that every antenna (for LTE and/or 5G) and Wi-Fi access point needs
to relate to fiber. Moreover, implementing a fiber grid typically results in significant
cost savings. During a May 2019
webinar hosted by the FTTH Council Europe (of which CommScope is a member), it was stated that an additional
investment of seven percent (over a traditional FTTH network) enables the installation
of a city-wide fiber-grid that can support future applications without the addition
of new fiber in the short or medium term.
Building a smart city infrastructure should
start with building the foundation (the UFG).
Any “applications” the city wants to use can be connected to this GRID
in a quick and easy way, without too much inconvenience for the citizens.