More than ever, building systems such as HVAC, lighting, security systems, and energy management systems are being incorporated into the local area network (LAN) at a rate that outpaces traditional infrastructure designs, creating a unique challenge for organizations to support additional bandwidth demand, address security concerns, and manage system complexity.
In a traditional enterprise facility, each building system functions as an island. Though Ethernet may have functioned as the common language within the core local area network for devices such as workstations, WAPs, and VOIP phones, historically all other building systems spoke their own language, with separate controls, support functions, and different managers responsible for them.
Now, as organizations incorporate networked utility applications — also known as uLAN™ — onto their core LAN, network managers are working to manage a wide range of network stressors to their cabling infrastructure.
To simplify system management and alleviate network stress in smart buildings, Leviton recommends that network infrastructure connecting core LAN applications and uLAN applications be physically separated in telecommunications rooms or closets.
In smart buildings, a multitude of IoT devices joining the network can overwhelm available outlets. Where roughly 20% of outlets may once have been allocated to utility-focused infrastructure, now easily 80% of outlets could be needed for utility-focused infrastructure.
Benefits to establishing a separate uLAN network:
- System convergence, while alleviating strain on the core LAN
- Functional managers maintain control of their own systems (security, HVAC, lighting, etc), while continuing to leverage the benefits of IP convergence
- IT equipment and infrastructure is used in a cost-effective way to meet the specific needs of utility devices, which can vary in PoE and bandwidth consumption, while tier one switching is reserved for the core LAN
Horizontal Cabling Architecture
Once cabling leaves the telecom room, Leviton recommends using zone cabling architecture.
Zone cabling architecture offers numerous advantages in a smart building. Rather than running cabling from the telecommunications room to the work area or device outlet, zone cabling provides a horizontal cable run from the telecommunications room to a consolidation point (CP) enclosure, then to the work area or device outlet. Zone cabling creates a highly flexible cabling infrastructure, offering simple maintenance and the ability to carry out efficient moves, adds, and changes (MACs). If devices need to be moved in a room, the change only happens to the connecting patch cord, while the CP and permanent link stay in place. Zone cabling also provides the opportunity to incorporate fiber optic cabling into the network for higher bandwidth applications or extended reach requirements beyond 100 meters.
Whatever level of network architecture you require, you can rely on Leviton experts for the right enterprise infrastructure planning, design, and system solutions. Our specification and application engineers ensure optimal performance, standards compliance, and will assist with topology design and installation support.