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In-Building Wireless Strategies

With over 10 billion devices wirelessly connected in the market today, it’s crucial for building owners to keep up with growing trends and demands for connectivity. Keep in mind that connecting via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G is no longer something people are just doing on the move—over 70 percent of mobile usage is happening indoors. Plus, using a cellular phone does not just mean making a few calls or sending text messages—devices keep pushing the limit on voice and data usage, including allowing constant connectivity for streaming videos and music, sending emails and photos, and other specialized (usage-heavy) apps.

Because employees, guests, and customers bring their own devices with them almost everywhere they go (whether a smartphone, tablet, or laptop), they not only need but come to expect strong, reliable wireless signal. This changing expectation provides pressure on commercial developers but also allows for equal opportunity to stay ahead of the trends and continue providing a seamless transition from outdoors to in.

Below, we’ve outlined strategies that building owners or commercial real estate developers can take to improve in-building connectivity.

Viewing Wireless Connectivity as a Fourth Utility

Business developers or current building managers have increased pressure to make their wireless connectivity (both cellular signal and Wi-Fi) reliable for their employees and customers throughout their entire buildings. Even more than just phones and computers require connectivity these days—from printers to security systems and thermostats to the never-ending release of new “smart” devices.

Understanding that users want full-strength, full-speed dependable wireless communication, one initial strategy for managers is simply a mental shift to viewing wireless connectivity as a fourth utility—in addition to gas, water, and electric. Employees and customers now expect strong signal in an office just as much as they’d expect working sinks and electricity.

With that viewpoint, it will be installed and implemented with the intent to last a life time, rather than causing building owners the headache of upgrading to meet with increasing demands.

Switching from Copper Cabling to Fiber Infrastructure

Fiber cabling, in lieu of copper cabling, has become a growing trend for real estate developers. Fiber allows for cleaner, simpler cabling solutions and provides the capacity for unlimited bandwidth.

Fiber networks (compared to copper):

  • Cost less to install and maintain
  • Suffer less downtime
  • Require less networking hardware
  • Are one-tenth the size and weight of copper
  • Are more readily available than copper (minimizing installation time)

Choosing fiber cabling solutions from the start of construction also reduces cost over time from minimizing necessary and sometimes continuous upgrades of copper systems. Learn more about fiber vs. copper cable structuring »

Infrastructure to Improve In-Building Wireless

While increased use and reliance can put a strain on in-building networks (both Wi-Fi and cellular data), there are other causes that can reduce effectiveness of in-building connectivity. Causes of poor wireless signal throughout your building can include:

  • The number of employees – each employee likely has more than one device connecting online (sometimes even more than five) when you include work and personal cellular phones, desk phones with VoIP, laptops and desktop computers, printers and other office equipment, and even other smart devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, and tablets.
  • Building layout – most buildings include interior spaces that are blocked by thick walls or even mazes of hallways to get from an exterior wall to that particular conference room or office.
  • Building interference – this includes certain metals, wire mesh, piping, insulation materials, surrounding trees and plans, parking garages, and more.

Learn more about designing and installing dependable wireless solutions for businesses »

Using a Single Integrator for All Your Low Voltage Needs

To complete your in-building networking project (whether an upgrade to existing facility or implementation for a new construction development), it’s best to work with one full-service company rather than different contractors or vendors for each need. Instead of hiring multiple companies to handle your low voltage, structured cabling, and in-building wireless solutions, you can reduce time and cost by choosing a turn-key solutions provider.

Full-Service Integrated Low Voltage Solutions

Corporate Technology Solutions is a low voltage company providing turnkey solutions for our customers throughout the Southwest. Growing from a top tier cabling installer, we now specialize in the design and installation of many systems based on our history of voicedatavideo, and fiber optic cabling systems.

Integrated solutions we provide include:

  • DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems)
  • WI-FI systems
  • GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks)
  • Fire alarm systems
  • A/V
  • Security systems for business
  • Access control system solutions
  • Video surveillance (CCTV)
  • Emergency communication systems
  • Business intercom solutions
  • Paging systems

Ready to get started? Give us a call today to talk about the solutions we can provide for you and your company located in the Southwest.

Posted in Blog, In-Building Wireless on March 15th, 2016 · Comments Off on In-Building Wireless Strategies

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New wire for new POE standard 802.3bt

There is a new 4-pair Power over Ethernet (4PPoE) wire, going hand in hand with the Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard, 802.3bt.

The 4PPoE wire has a high rate of power supply, which can power up to 100 watts, four to five times greater than the current rate of power available within structured cabling systems. This technology is set to vastly improve structured cabling systems, as it will allow for more powerful terminal equipment to run on network cables. The 4PPoE wire means there is no longer a need for parallel power cabling.

Going forward, PoE will require the use of all four twisted pairs within network cabling to handle the energy transfer, which is why it is named 4-pair Power over Ethernet.

Cabling standards have to address some of the issues with 4PPoE. Because it is twisted-pair copper cabling, it may heat up when it is supplying power, meaning there may be an increase in attenuation. Cabling standards dealing with the avoidance of critical temperature increases are important, as they help protect the power available within the structured cabling systems, and set out safety measures to avoid too much heat. Proper safety precautions must be taken to avoid the risk of fire, for example. Cabling standards set out all of the information needed to mitigate risk.

For those installing structured cabling systems using this Power over Ethernet wire, there are tools available to ensure standards are met. Installers can use a PoE calculator that takes all factors into consideration, including ambient air temperature, cable lengths, and cable types.

This Power over Ethernet cabling will support many applications. As it is able to transfer Ethernet speed of 10 gigabits, it will be used for data transfer, but it can also be used to power IP terminal devices like cameras, monitors, wireless access points, and point-of-sale terminals via the local data network.

PoE can also be used to support the Internet of Things, powering sensors and control systems in remote locations without needing cables.

The new wire for PoE standard 802.3bt is a major victory for improving and advancing technology. This is a development that is very exciting for many people using structured cabling systems, as an increase in power is something that everyone can benefit from, whether it is a company or its users.

Posted in Blog on December 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on New wire for new POE standard 802.3bt

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LTE for Indoor needs

Wifi systems for business go hand in hand with LTE, when you are trying to meet indoor connectivity needs. Working together, these two systems can create the best connectivity.

LTE is commonly known as 4G LTE, and is a wireless communication standard, used to transmit high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

Users expect coverage everywhere, even indoors. Wifi systems for business do have a place, but for indoor deployments, distributed antenna systems work well.

Distributed antenna system companies can install a network that will support various devices, ensuring there are no gaps in reliability and connectivity. When you overlay distributed antenna systems with LTE, you are providing high capacity and speed.

Technology companies are putting a focus on LTE technology, and other technologies distributed antenna system companies can use in conjunction with their existing infrastructure. Instead of simply working with wifi systems for business, the doors have been opened to tailoring your chosen technology for your specific building and user base.

For instance, Ericsson has introduced a new LTE software suite, Ericsson Networks Software 16A, which promises to increase uplink speeds by up to 200 percent and downlink speeds by up to 30 percent. It also supports LTE-Unlicensed.

This is important, as Ericsson is looking to a future in which many users have multiple mobile devices, as well as other connected devices via the Internet of Things. This means that stable, reliable indoor coverage is hugely important now, and will be even more important as people begin relying on their LTE-enabled devices at a higher rate.

Many people believe just LTE, or just wifi systems for businesses are ideal, but when you deploy both at the same time, your distributed antenna systems will benefit the highest number of people. When your network options are robust, you will keep more users happy.

If you are trying to sort out what networking options are best for your indoor needs, it is a good idea to check with experts at distributed antenna system companies, who can check out your space, talk to you about your goals, and help you determine what combination of technology will be ideal for your purposes. You will likely end up with a combination of LTE and other networking technology, perfectly suited for your business, and designed to keep your users happy.

Posted in Blog on December 17th, 2015 · Comments Off on LTE for Indoor needs

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Wireless Connectivity

What is wireless connectivity, how can it help you, and what do you need to do to accommodate WiFi? With wireless networking, you are able to access and control various aspects of your facility. This could include systems like HVAC, lighting, or sensors, as well as devices that use WiFi like computers, tablets, and phones. These days, it’s hard to find a workplace or building that does not use wireless networking in some capacity.

WiFi usage is only growing, as portable devices like smartphones gain popularity and building systems’ technology improves. This means your facility needs to plan ahead to accommodate WiFi wherever it can, so you can keep up with industry trends, new technology, and best practices. Your wireless networking needs may need to grow to include various wireless standards like ZigBee, near field communication and Bluetooth, depending on which technologies make the most sense for the applications involved.

How does cellular data usage and WiFi affect your facility? For many people using smartphones and other portable devices, the cellular network is actually faster than wireless networking. Your facility needs to accommodate your users in whatever way makes sense – consider keeping up with improved versions of WiFi, which promise increases in speed and bandwidth. Either way, you will have to have a plan in place to expand your available networking, whether it’s through cellular data usage, or WiFi.

Many companies are moving toward a bring-your-own-device environment, allowing employees and clients to bring in their own tablets, phones, computers, and other devices to work on projects. Wireless networking makes this much easier, so long as it is secure.

What does wireless networking mean for your Ethernet cabling needs? You may be used to a wired environment, using Ethernet cabling to create a network and remain connected. In the world of WiFi, cables are not needed as much – hence the name wireless networking. However, if you want speed and reliability, you will likely still be using Ethernet cabling in some capacity. Many facilities take a hybrid approach to all of these technologies, using various standards for each separate application. It is perfectly normal to use different wireless networking standards, and Ethernet cabling, in the same business or the same building. A cabling expert can help you determine what systems will best suit your needs, so you can work without any technical issues or interruptions.

Posted in Blog on December 10th, 2015 · Comments Off on Wireless Connectivity

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Improving the Wi-Fi user experience

Accessing WiFi is a common, every day thing in the average network user’s life – with mobile equipment, WiFi hotspots available all over the world, and increasingly fast and easy-to-use technology, it’s little wonder that more and more people are using this type of network.
But how can operators improve the WiFi user experience?

WiFi is being used to enable cellular offload by many operators, but for users, it’s the first network they turn off when they run into issues. When a user is stuck dealing with poor connectivity, inability to roam, bandwidth problems and long load times, switching off WiFi seems like the first trick to try. Operators can combat this by using 802.11ai technology.

802.11ai technology offers many benefits. It reduced the number of link-setup messages to four, which is much lower than what is required for many legacy WiFi setups. The initial link setup time is very fast with 802.11ai technology, which translates into happy users.

802.11ai also allows for an increased user capacity, even if there are many users trying to access the same WiFi network – this should be of interest to all operators, but especially those that serve large public networks like transportation stations, hotels, and event venues.

Roaming is important to your user base, and you can make this a good experience by using 802.11ai – this technology lets STAs find the best AP almost instantly, so users barely register an interruption, if at all.

If you’re an operator looking for a flexible WiFi deployment model, talk to your cable contractor in Phoenix, like CTS Cabling, about 802.11ai and how it can benefit you and your users. By deploying 802.11ai you can easily address many of the common problems WiFi users complain about, while strengthening your network and getting an edge up on your competition.

A cable contractor in Phoenix, like CTS Cabling, can help you design and implement anything you need to make your network the best it can be. When you get your WiFi network working well, and have a happy, satisfied user base, you may find that you spend less money and time dealing with customer complaints, freeing up resources to improve your networks in even more ways. It’s a win-win situation, for you and your clients, so don’t hesitate to work with CTS cabling to maximize your networking potential.

Posted in Blog on December 3rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Improving the Wi-Fi user experience

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Systems Design and 802.3bt

The newest Power over Ethernet (POE) standard, IEEE 802.3bt, offers a lot of speed and power. It’s referred to as 4PPoE, because it uses all four pairs, instead of two pairs, for POE+ power delivery. IEEE 802.3bt will go up to 100 watts, about four times more than the current POE+ IEEE standard. When you need high power for your devices, IEEE 802.3bt will work well in your systems design.

IEEE 802.3bt will allow for more energy going to powerful terminal devices, using network cables. This means parallel power cabling does not have to be a part of your systems design anymore, but attenuation may be increased when using twisted-pair copper cables. If you are working on a cabling project using IEEE 802.3bt, you should be aware of how this can affect your system, and how to avoid reaching critical temperatures leading to loss of power.

A long-term temperature increase of just 10 degrees Celsius is enough to halve the service life of a cable, not to mention the risks of fire and other safety hazards. High temperatures reduce the potential length of a link, and can greatly impede data transfer.

Solutions to this systems design problem include avoiding thick cable bundles and heat buildup in cable channels, using large conductor cross sections or shielded cables, and reducing link lengths to avoid excess heat. Connection modules and plugs with insulation displacement technology help create stable connections while reducing the risk of heat and fire, and cabling designers and installers should also be aware that there must be a sufficient distance between breaking points and nominal contact areas as well.

A POE calculator can help with systems design, implementing data like cable types of air temperature. You can also work with CTS, a cabling company, who will sort out the details for you ensuring the safety and longevity of your system design. It is well worth the extra thought and effort to make sure your system is working properly and will continue to do so for years to come.
What types of terminal devices can be powered with IEEE 802.3bt? This system works in nearly every application – it will be useful for cameras, monitors, wireless access points, sensors and control systems, and building management features. From healthcare to industrial, IEEE 802.3bt has a purpose.

IEEE 802.3bt has a lot to offer, when the cabling system is installed and designed correctly.

Posted in Blog on November 26th, 2015 · Comments Off on Systems Design and 802.3bt

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WiFi Calling

WiFi calling is becoming increasingly popular, principally because it’s cheaper than going via a network. Phone companies were largely resistant to this move, both structurally (in terms of infrastructure and market position), and in terms of where they nudged customer behavior. However, they have seen the future it is fully integrated: WiFi systems must be fully embraced in order to meet consumer needs and expectations. There are other advantages: WiFi calling allows providers to offer better coverage without needing so many expensive base stations.

The challenge now is making technological strides in order to manage mixed connectivity, as well as encouraging customers to ‘handoff’ between devices and modes of call delivery and internet connection. In the future, a user making a call and walking through a shopping mall might conceivably drift between service providers and modes of connection, with changes driven by signal strength and cost. Widespread WiFi calling is the first step on the road to fully heterogeneous connectivity (HetNet) that requires little or no intervention by the user. Already, 5G networks treat all the different connections as a single, enormous network. Essentially, WiFi systems are about to become ubiquitous and WiFi calling is just the beginning. Eight billion mobile phone subscriptions are expected by next year, with Ericsson anticipating the number of connected devices to have risen to 50 billion by 2020.

The array of choice for phone and data services may seem overwhelming: VOIP, optical networks, WiFi systems, mobile phones, and the good old landline. IT managers and architects must be expert in the best-fit connectivity and cabling for every aspect of their organisation as well as manage connectivity issues in hardware and software. Different departments, industries and products have different needs. Independent providers, such as CTS cabling, are a growth industry. Specializing in healthcare, government, education and commercial systems requires expertise in all the products and options at different scales of operation across multiple locations. For example the CTS cabling contractor in Phoenix recently equipped and coordinated two major data centers for the City of Phoenix, starting by connecting the two.

HetNet is not yet a seamless reality, and integrated WiFi calling is still very much in its infancy. Dropped calls and cut outs still dog Google’s Project Fi, and not everyone is comfortable with the Apple watch’s handoffs. Security will need to be addressed and many firms will need to consult with specialists about protecting their WiFi networks. Concerns are beginning to surface about the potential health risks of WiFi signals. While these may be unfounded, they will still need to be managed, based on user perception of risk.

On the other hand, users flipping between different provider technologies is more convenient (once all the bugs are ironed out), and cheaper. Ultimately, increased WiFi calling will require fewer base stations, making it cost effective, and more ecologically sound.

Posted in Blog on November 19th, 2015 · Comments Off on WiFi Calling

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New Standards for Power over Ethernet

Fifteen years ago Cisco systems were the first to deliver power as well as data along Ethernet cables, connecting the 4/5 (+) and 7/8 (-) untwisted pairs to a power supply. The repurposing of these wires left both manufacturing processes and IT architecture in place, while delivering a massive increase in available functions. This developed into the ‘PoE Plus’ standard, IEEE 802.3at-2009, increasing the amount of power available and putting millions of units of network equipment on PoE power. Additionally, the single cable kept power loss to a minimum.

A further version, 802.3bt, has now almost doubled output again. By using all four pairs of balanced twisted-pair cabling at least 49 watts can be delivered to devices. This would put the estimated size of the market at 100 million powered devices. Given the inherent advantages of using existing technologies to supply new functions, one of the objectives of the IEEE 802.3 working group was to ensure a degree of backward compatibility while keeping capacity and demand in better alignment. That said, compliance to safety codes on extra low voltage circuits means that cabling needs to be, minimum, category 5e or higher.

The different categories of cable; 5e and 6, etc. refer to the degree of insulation and therefor amount of power an Ethernet cable can carry. In our experience, as a cable contractor in Phoenix, protecting equipment and people is often as simple as making sure that the correct cabling is supplied. One important safety feature is the use of an isolated power supply: the lack of physical boundaries between the user and the PoE voltage source, mean that spikes and short circuits are potentially dangerous. Safety certification may depend on 1500-V ac or 2250-V dc isolation. New standards for PoE, mean that cabling infrastructure, supporting wifi for business and internal connectivity may need a review. Enhancements to existing PoE standards need to be compatible with 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T is the ideal standard. Interfaces should remain unchanged.

The application, then, is vast: medical equipment, surveillance equipment, AV equipment ranging from conference rooms to intercoms, access points for wireless for business, IP cameras, manufacturing equipment, Network Time protocol clocks, keyless entry systems, retail points of service, digital signage, and multichannel WAP, to name but a few.

For network managers and experts such as CTS Cabling, determining the suitability of four-pair PoE networks needs to include the following considerations: the needs of the overall network, potential limitations of thermal capacity, and cabling and deployment strategies. While this can appear daunting, the driver for these changes remains economic: delivering power and data together saves millions on the installation costs of separate lines.

Posted in Blog on November 12th, 2015 · Comments Off on New Standards for Power over Ethernet

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How Passive Optical LANs Serve Healthcare-Network Needs

What is a passive optical network, and how can it serve healthcare networking needs?

The passive optical network is set up in a local area network (LAN) environment, bringing optical fiber communications to each end-user. This type of network relies on fiber optic wiring and passive components like splitters and combiners to link each user to the Optical Line Termination, originating at the optical fiber communication provider’s facilities.

Whether in a hospital setting, continuing care situation, or elsewhere, a passive optical network is a common thing to find in healthcare. This type of optical fiber communications has numerous benefits, in general, and specifically for healthcare.

Because a passive optical network works to bring Ethernet closer to each end user, it cuts down on the space and infrastructure required for traditional copper cabling versus fiber optic wiring. With a smaller footprint there is less need for power and cooling expenditures, and the overall cabling installation and maintenance work is simplified.

Fiber optic wiring set up in a passive optical network allows for very long distances, meaning healthcare settings where there are multi-story buildings, multiple locations, or even large healthcare campuses, to all be connected to the same Optical Line Termination.

Healthcare networks have specific needs, beyond cabling infrastructure. In most healthcare environments there is a heavy demand on data, from interactive patient care to electronic medical records to computerized physician order entries. Networks must be secure, and able to stand up to heavy use without downtime.

Passive optical networks are expandable, more secure than copper, and future-ready. Instead of struggling to upgrade and update existing copper networks, it makes more sense, in terms of efficiency, security, and expense, for healthcare operations to switch to fiber optic wiring.

When dealing with cabling installation and maintenance for healthcare, installers should be aware of TIA/EIA standards. TIA/EIA standards are specific to buildings, leveraging fiber optic wiring distances to keep everything contained in a single telecommunications room. This simplifies the process of cabling installation and maintenance, lowers costs, and promotes security.

To ensure your optical fiber communications meet all standards and are optimized for your needs, contact a company experienced in cabling installation and maintenance, like CTS Cabling. Experts at CTS Cabling know how to design and implement fiber optic wiring to make it the most beneficial in every industry and application.

Posted in Blog on November 5th, 2015 · Comments Off on How Passive Optical LANs Serve Healthcare-Network Needs

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The Importance of Being First to Market with LTE

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is a type of wireless communication, allowing mobile phones and data terminals to share high-speed data. Downlink peak rates are 300 Mbit/s, with uplink peak rates of 75 Mbit/s.

Many operators are using a pre-existing type of network, 3G/High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), but are finding their systems taxed by the expanding user base and applications that are resource-hungry. The choice must be made — continue to try and make 3G/HSPA work against these problems, or switch to 4G/LTE? With a bit of research, the answer is clear — LTE is the network of the future, and it’s important to make this switch as soon as possible.

Mobile network operators who want to make the switch to 4G/LTE have a few choices. They can deploy it widely as soon as possible, or roll it out slowly. As more mobile network operators choose to deploy 4G/LTE, the ones who have held off are falling behind their competitors.
Here are a few reasons why mobile network operators should move to 4G/LTE, and quickly.

Customers who have access to 4G/LTE networks tend to use their devices more frequently, as the wireless network is more responsive and quick. For mobile network operators, this means increased revenue, which is the end goal of every for-profit company.

Switching to an LTE wireless network is also a good way to keep your clients happy. Of course they will be willing to spend more money, if their overall experience is better. You will reduce support tickets and time spent fixing problems when you switch to the best wireless network available.

Many clients like to be early adopters, so making this wireless network available is a good way for mobile network operators to cash in on this phenomenon. Power users who understand and appreciate the nuances of various types of wireless networks will be happy to switch over as soon as you make 4G/LTE available, increasing your revenue while giving you time to convince your other users to give it a try.

Major mobile network operators in North America, and other areas of the world, have seen great rewards as a result of jumping from 3G/HSPA to 4G/LTE. With the promise of speed, responsiveness, and increased user satisfaction, there’s no reason not to switch!

Posted in Blog on October 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on The Importance of Being First to Market with LTE

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