The Connected, Copper Building

With much of today’s focus on fiber, there is still a copper component to everything we can do in the workplace. CommScope’s Jason Baustista has more on the connected, copper facility.

Facility LAN 360x203The dynamics of the people in buildings have set off a shift in how data networks are designed, deployed and developed. As the workforce transitions from a technology literate one to a workforce that was born digital-first, the networks supporting these users have evolved with ever-increasing bandwidth and a focus on mobility. However, during this time another shift has happened within a lesser-known network within the building: facility LAN (local area network).

The facility or operation LAN enables base-building applications that support the people within it. From the air we breathe, to the lights we use, to the power with which we charge our devices, the LAN has the ability to communicate with building owners on efficiency and problems with services.

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Previously these services were siloed with operators and owners pulling data from each system as needed. During this time, the idea of "smart buildings" came to the forefront. We ended up using these systems and their network connections to promote energy management and building efficiencies. With the advent of room sensors and IoT (Internet of Things), we saw a shift to workplace management and space utilization to support the increasingly mobile workforce.

Now, just like we saw with the user network, the facility LAN is going through a shift. These siloed systems are now becoming more integrated to provide a better workplace experience. The data provided from these systems, sensors and IoT devices, coupled with advanced logic and analytics, have again changed how a building operates. As it has come to pass in the IT LAN environment, category copper cabling networks and PoE are being used to power and connect various facilities applications. Utilizing power distribution over category copper cabling allows for flexibility and support for numerous applications in the building. Applications commonly associated with facilities like perimeter security, access control, security cameras, vertical conveyance, lighting and many others have become IP and PoE enabled, leveraging structured copper cabling systems to provide both connectivity and power.

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A connected building with a dedicated network for facility applications enables a workplace that encourages worker engagement and productivity. As systems integrate a dedicated facility LAN to easily connect and collect, communication between these systems is needed.

Users have come to expect their technology to work everywhere they go, and networks to support that technology has evolved to do so. Users have created the network demands to support their digital-first lifestyle forcing data networks to evolve. But even as they look down at their phone to check if they have connectivity, unbeknownst to them, the connected building they just walked into has also evolved to support the ways they work. From understanding where they sit and adjusting the temperature and air flow to provide comfort and increase cognitive function, to automatically adjusting the lights to balance and use sunlight to save energy, facility LANs help enable building systems to create an environment where people want to come to work.

As the importance of facility networks becomes more apparent, CommScope is able to help support or choose the right network solution. From best in class enterprise network solutions leveraging from our extensive expertise in traditional LANs, to innovative approaches using a universal connectivity grid, CommScope has the best and widest breath of products and expertise to help.