Copper is the Core to Any Building’s Network

New_TC_Tan_headshot T. C. Tan October 9, 2017

Building-3-floors_360x203In a previous blog, my colleague Matias Peluffo addressed the question, “Is the wireless office the new paperless office?” He concluded that the paperless office is not quite paperless, and the wireless office is not quite wireless.

Contrary to popular belief, wired (i.e., balanced copper cabling) and wireless technologies are actually complementary. Wi-Fi technology requires balanced copper cabling to provide remote power using Power-over-Ethernet technology and backhaul data from the switches to the wireless access points. Similarly, digital distributed antenna systems such as ION-E and small cell systems like OneCell, require balanced copper cabling to provide data and remote power from the switches to the remote radio units.

CLICK TO TWEET: Learn why copper is the core to any building’s network.

Every building must meet several basic requirements such as security, public safety, ventilation, lighting, health and comfort. Although wireless technologies have been touted for some building automation systems (BAS), their adoption rate in commercial buildings is still low due to security concerns especially among the building insurers. Hence many of the BAS applications still require balanced copper cabling to provide data --and sometimes remote power-- from the controllers to the field devices such as actuators and fan coil units.

With the growing proliferation of networked sensors and the building Internet of Things (BIoTs) to support existing and newer BAS applications, additional balanced copper cabling will be required to provide data and remote power connectivity to these devices. Many of these devices will be located up in the ceiling space.

To support both wired and wireless technologies, network infrastructure designers must adopt an integrated approach such as the CommScope Universal Connectivity Grid to design, plan and deploy the infrastructure. This approach will provide maximum flexibility and return on investment as well as lower operation costs.

The integration of voice, data, video, wireless and BAS under one uniform network infrastructure is often referred to as the ‘fourth utility’ concept and one golden rule must always be followed for the concept to be successful: the planning and design stage must occur at the very beginning and not as an after-thought. That’s why balanced copper cabling is still core to any commercial building horizontal cabling network.

About the Author


T. C. Tan

Dr. T. C. Tan is the Building Solution Architect for Europe. Based in the UK, Dr. Tan has worked with CommScope for 15 years bringing a depth of experience and knowledge unique to the industry. He holds a PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Imperial College, London and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and a Chartered Engineer. Prior to CommScope, Dr. Tan joined AT&T in 1988 where he filled various EMEA technical roles at AT&T, Lucent and Avaya, and was a member of Bell Laboratories.

Dr. Tan has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and networking industry and is a recognized expert on cabling systems, LANs, EMC, BAS and cable fire safety. He has published numerous articles and papers on these subjects. In 2002, Dr. Tan was nominated by NCN (Network Cabling News) magazine as one of the key “Movers and Shakers” for the UK network cabling industry.