Many people might feel that it is interesting to
see how breakthrough technologies get adopted and how some can become so valued
that they could be considered as vital as a home utility. There are compelling
applications driving them to become part of our everyday lives. In the case of
electricity, indoor lighting was the initial driver; however, when electricity
was brought to all buildings and home, all manner of new electrical appliances
were invented to take advantage of this new technology.
Today, many are pointing to wireless connectivity
as the next utility in the building.
Unlike the early days of electricity, applications already exist. In this case,
it is the wireless infrastructure within the building that must be developed to
support the burgeoning number of wireless applications and users.
Expectations for Connectivity
While wireless connectivity in most buildings
exists today in the form of Wi-Fi, the same cannot be said for cellular coverage.
In fact, of the estimated 30 billion square meters of commercial space that
exists today, only two percent of buildings are equipped with an in-building
wireless system to provide cellular coverage.
While indoor wireless connectivity is becoming
increasingly important, indoor cellular coverage is more challenging.
With mobile traffic doubling every 18 months, and
nearly 80 percent of all mobile sessions occurring indoors, the outdoor
cellular network simply can’t keep up with demand. The additional challenge is
seen in today’s energy-efficient buildings. These buildings are constructed
from materials that interfere with outdoor wireless signals. This often means
patchy coverage at best.
More than 70 percent of respondents to the 2013
CommScope Global Enterprise Survey said they have had to move around within a
building to get good signal. The Franklin
County Courthouse is a good case in point. The opening of this seven-story
building was delayed several months when it was discovered that wireless
coverage was not available in parts of the building, making it a safety issue.
Planning for Future Needs
What can be done to ensure that buildings have
The first step is planning for wireless
connectivity, especially in new buildings and renovations. This is the ideal
time to ensure that the cabling infrastructure is in place to support the
wireless coverage needed for the building.
As Wi-Fi standards continue to evolve, it is
critical that the infrastructure is ready. Our white paper, Laying
the groundwork for a new level of wireless access performance, provides
a standards-based approach to preparing for the ever-increasing Wi-Fi traffic.
Cabling standards have also started in TIA and ISO/IEC
to plan for in-building wireless (IBW) systems to address cellular coverage. As
with cabling for Wi-Fi in advance, it’s equally important to plan for IBW.
Fortunately, new IBW technology was developed using
the same structured cabling platform that connects to Wi-Fi access points and
other IT equipment most commonly found in the enterprise local area network. To learn more about the different options available for IBW, check out the white paper, What's your best route to in-building wireless?
People expect electricity, HVAC and other necessary
utilities throughout the building. The same expectations hold true for wireless
connectivity. Fortunately, with new planning guidelines and technology, the
indoor connectivity challenge should be easier to achieve.