Communications networks in commercial buildings have been through continual evolution from the days of separate phone and computer cabling. Integrated voice and data cabling came in the nineties and all computers were networked via Cat5 data cabling instead of brand-specific coax networks. The phone system used the same cabling and that was the first step toward an integrated backbone – but it only integrated two services – voice & data. It grew from there in a number of waves, each driven by technical advances and market appetite, firstly over copper Cat5/Cat6 cabling then migrating to fibre optic cabling.
Wi-Fi access points were soon added as laptops appeared. With the advent of “Triple-play” (the integration of Voice/Data/Video) building backbones adopted Telco GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) technology, as used globally for Fibre-to-the-Home networks but easily adapted for use in high-rise and campus-style buildings.
With low cost, high-speed fibre backbones becoming the norm for most buildings, the next step was to add the BMS (Building Management Systems) such as HVAC, Security Video, Access Control, Lighting Control and Energy Monitoring and Control.
Typically, buildings have two fibre backbones. There are no technical limitations – one single fibre backbone could easily accommodate all building communications services – however there are commercial, regulatory and operational reasons for the Carrier Services (telephony, internet, cable-TV) remaining separate. The technology of each backbone is identical and the two networks should eventually converge into one.
The latest additions to building communications networks are DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) for in-building mobile phone coverage and the innumerable building sensor devices increasingly needing a network connection for machine-to-machine communications, otherwise known as the IoT (Internet of Things). With the builders, not the Telco Carriers, now responsible for the provision of in-building mobile phone coverage in high-rise buildings, the building cabling industry has again expanded and diversified into new technology.
Madison Technologies continues to be a leading supplier through every part of this journey. At every step Madison has introduced world-leading brands and technologies to remain at the forefront of this ever-changing industry over many years, supplying to virtually all major builders, electrical and data contractors along with specialist integrators in each sector. Madison has the engineering resources, the brands, the relationships and the industry experience to lead the move to fully integrated Smart Buildings | Connected Buildings.