Wireless in the enterprise: A flexible copper architecture

Existing wireless technologies are evolving, and copper is at the heart of it. It supports higher backbone speeds and higher power delivery. Do you have what you need in your network? Juan Pablo Compagnucci has more.


During a keynote at Mobile World Congress 2017, the CEO and founder of a well-known technology and multimedia company received only one question from the audience: “What will the future look like in the next 10 years?”


The audience was used to hearing from other technology futurists attempting to predict the future and describing the impact of new business models, artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality, Internet of Things, smart cities, connected cars and intuitive networks to name a few.

However, this person surprised the audience when he said, “I really don’t know.” After a deep silence, he continued to say that what he did know was that they were going to remain agile and flexible, with an attitude toward change that will enable them to adapt to future scenarios.

In today’s enterprise environments, there is no doubt that indoor mobility is playing a key role. From the user’s perspective, reliable wireless connectivity is expected in every area of the building, no matter the technology. From the building owner’s perspective, mobility represents a significant impact to the business in terms of property value, differentiation, tenant retention, employee productivity and other areas.

Existing wireless technologies are evolving. New technologies are being developed and are looking to have a place in the rich enterprise environment. Wi-Fi continues to evolve beyond 802.11ac with the upcoming 802.11ax, further increasing the efficiency and throughput per user.

That’s why the copper cabling that connects access points to switches must support not only higher backbone speeds but also higher power delivery. DAS has evolved to better serve buildings and enterprises, like ION-E that uses a compact head-end and all-digital fronthaul to enable it to operate over structured cabling. Small cells have evolved in the form of C-RAN small cells like OneCell, where multiple distributed radio nodes are connected to a centralized baseband unit using structured cabling systems.

CLICK TO TWEET: Existing wireless technologies are evolving, and copper is at the heart of it.

In order to support both existing and future technologies, natural questions arise among IT managers and owners:

  • Which wireless technologies are going to be dominant in the enterprise space in the coming years?
  • How are licensed and unlicensed technologies going to coexist in the future?
  • Is there any approach that can be deployed today and be flexible enough to support wireless technologies now and in the future with minimum interruption to office operations?

The wireless technologies described above are enabling mobility by using standard copper IT infrastructure to deliver data and power. Because of that, an integrated approach is the recommended architecture to support wireless and other applications for buildings.

The Universal Connectivity Grid is a common connectivity platform that provides infrastructure efficiencies from the design phase to the operations phase of a building. Product and installation efficiencies can be identified at the design phase and realized at the installation phase by addressing common media and pathway requirements. Maximum operational efficiency can be realized by deploying a grid-based layout with distribution boxes to improve administration and minimize the cost and disruption when providing additional services or space reconfigurations. Category 6A cabling provides high bandwidth and remote powering capabilities to support legacy and emerging building applications, and provides the foundation for state-of-the-art buildings.

The bottom line is this: while a known future is uncertain, we’re certainly ready for it. CommScope has the capability and knowledge to get others ready for it, too. How are you preparing?