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Delivering in-building fiber - without disruption

Posted by Rich Contreras


in-building fiber deploymentWhether through streaming HD content from the internet or accessing "traditional"’ TV programmes online, consumers are widening the ways in which they watch films and TV shows.

Fiber provides the perfect network to transport even the most bandwidth-intensive content into subscribers' living rooms, providing the ability for it to be watched on TVs, tablets, phones or computers.

Consumers understand this, which is why fiber networks are becoming more and more popular around the world.

Real estate companies are increasingly reflecting this demand by ensuring that their apartment buildings and condominiums can support the latest technology through fiber networks.

Installing a state of the art in-building fiber network helps attract and retain tenants and can differentiate against similar properties in the area.

The challenges of in-building installation

However, both consumers and property companies want the whole installation process to be convenient, trouble-free and involve no loss of service. They don’t want their buildings or homes to be damaged or disrupted by ugly deployments that wreck the décor or lead to problems down the line.

Therefore, they justifiably require reassurance that contractors will deliver on their promises and the whole process will be quick and trouble-free. Building superintendents also want to know that the installation will be cost-effective, future-proofed and reliable, so that they can continue to meet the needs of residents going forward without having to invest over the odds.

Existing buildings also face another challenge. As previous blogs have discussed, retrofitting fiber cable into brownfield sites is difficult. Space is limited, the opportunity to add new ducts is constrained by building design and the wiring and plans on older sites may be completely undocumented.

Balancing these factors can be hard. But the recent experience of installer National Technologies (NTI) provides the perfect example of where a project has brought new services to residents, with no disruption or downtime.

Meeting the challenges – cabling a Chicago condo

Michigan in-building fiberGiven its age, the wiring in the building was no longer going to be supported by its satellite TV provider, meaning it had to be upgraded to ensure services to residents could continue. The building’s management therefore decided to use this opportunity to future-proof its network connections by delivering fiber to each condo unit.NTI was called in to deploy fiber at an existing high rise condo building on Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1964, it comprises 74 high end apartments with stunning views over the lake, combined with top of the range facilities.

However, the existing conduits were all undersized – they may have been state of the art in 1964, but they only had space to daisy chain the telephone and antenna cabling. Prior to NTI’s involvement, many contractors had looked at the project and couldn’t find a solution that installed fiber cabling to each of the condo units through the existing conduit. The only suggestion offered by many was to remove the existing coax cabling and replace it with fiber. This was expensive and would cause the tenants to be out of service until fiber was up and running, and was clearly unacceptable to both residents and the building management.

NTI came up with a completely different solution. Working with m2fx and its ultra-small, ultra lightweight, flexible fiber cable, NTI was able to install fiber within the existing ducts, removing any downtime and causing minimal inconvenience to residents.

Additionally, this dramatically lowered the time and labour of the project – as existing coax cabling remained in place during installation it didn’t need to be removed, cutting down costs. As well as NTI’s planning and deployment skills, further reassurance was provided by m2fx’s extensive on-site support, extended cable warranty and ability to provide answers to the full range of questions asked by the client.

Each apartment now benefits from connectivity through a six strand, single mode fiber cable. This not only allows effortless access to satellite TV through the dish on the building’s roof, but provides residents with high quality, high speed internet connections. This combination of state of the art networking is far ahead of the majority of other buildings in the area, helping retain the condo’s reputation for excellence and assisting in attracting new tenants.

Consumers are demanding higher and higher bandwidth to make sure they can access a growing range of internet-based entertainment services, from TV to streaming video, gaming and UltraHD (or 4K) content. At the same time they don’t want disruption or damage to their homes. Building owners want to satisfy residents, but also need to balance their budgets when it comes to installation.

As NTI’s experience shows, it is possible to deliver a solution that not only keeps everyone happy, but provides a network that can meet changing needs, well into the future.

In-building

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, MDU

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