Understanding and managing the maze of telecommunication issues facing today’s building owners and managers is becoming more and more challenging. How can a building owner or manager feel confident that they’re providing their tenants with the right telecommunications services? Effective management of current and future telecommunications systems deployed at a property is essential to guarantee the highest possible return on investment (ROI). To attract and keep tenants in their properties, owners must provide broadband access and telephony service to meet the voice, data, and Internet demands of their tenants.
The first step in doing this is to understand what telecom infrastructure is already present. As many new carriers and service providers have come and gone in recent years, often the building owner or management company is unaware of the telecom systems that are in place and their operational status. A telecom asset inventory will provide a detailed record of the existing telecom systems, update the services provided by each, and identify available space for new or updated technologies. The buildings professional can then plan for the future with a clear understanding of existing assets.
The inventory can also provide a telecom asset database that can be tracked and updated as services change with newer technologies. This allows the owner/manager company to maintain control of its telecom equipment and riser space. Compliance with building code and regulatory requirements is also more easily managed.
Facility Management of Telecom
A qualified telecommunications firm can complement your existing facilities management team by helping manage existing infrastructure, as well as evaluating new systems and their overall impact to the facility. They can oversee installation of new tenant systems and help manage the existing riser and telecom equipment space, all while maintaining high-quality access and offering options to tenants that meet their needs and budget.
As tenants come and go, and newer systems are implemented or changed, they can accurately track changes and update your asset database. Proper planning and attention to the business, technical, and safety issues can minimize your telecom headaches and maximize your facility’s revenue.
In-Building Wireless Systems
A major growth area for telecom in commercial properties is in the deployment of in-building wireless systems, such as wireless LANs (WLANs) for high-speed data and Internet applications, and in-building cellular enhancement systems for voice and lower-speed data applications (often referred to as distributed antenna systems [DAS]). These systems can provide significant advantages to tenants by providing high-speed access, greater mobility, ease of installation, and adaptability to newer handheld devices (PDAs, 3G phones, etc.) throughout a facility.
The many types of wireless in-building systems available have increased dramatically; making it difficult to understand which system may be most beneficial. A multiple-carrier system may make sense for a facility with many different tenants, while a single-carrier system may be more viable for a single-tenant facility. Many newer systems can integrate multiple cellular voice and low-speed data systems with high-speed WLANs, sharing valuable infrastructure space and reducing overall implementation costs.
The more telecom systems implemented, the better? Not always. The addition of new transmitters in close proximity to existing systems can sometimes cause interference problems or degradation to the performance of existing systems. Having the ability to analyze these issues upfront, and the expertise to troubleshoot and correct problems when they occur, allows you to meet tenants’ needs and respond quickly should issues arise.
The proliferation of multiple WLAN systems into tenant buildings is also an area of concern. As more and more of these “unlicensed” systems are deployed, the level of system interference increases, which could degrade performance or render some of the systems ineffective. Proper RF signal level measurements and knowing which systems are in place can help overcome these obstacles for tenants.
Other interference issues that may need to be considered and analyzed are harmonic emissions, intermodulation, and spurious emissions, as well as non-standard sources of interference such as microwave ovens, intrusion alarms, computers, and ignition systems. With proper planning and analysis, these potential detriments to normal telecommunication system operations can be successfully managed and mitigated to allow for compatible system operation and performance.
Proper management of your facility’s rooftop is a matter of optimizing space and lease revenue potential, while minimizing conflicts due to zoning/aesthetics, installation/constructability, and interference. Review your new telecom tenant’s plans for suitability and viability with your telecom management firm, and even negotiate – on your behalf – an agreement beneficial to you and one that safeguards your existing telecom tenants.
Space efficiency is a primary objective in the design and installation of telecommunication equipment on a rooftop. To optimize rooftop space, proper attention must be paid to the many technical issues that confront a telecommunication site, including antenna placement. Antenna placement should be done in a manner that will both optimize growth potential and minimize any possible physical and electromagnetic interference. Effective technical analysis and planning of antenna installations are necessary to successfully reap the greatest return from your rooftop site.
In addition, minimize safety and liability concerns through compliance to the strict rules and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Technical studies, typically funded by a proposed new tenant, can ensure the safety of workers, tenants, and the general public as new systems are implemented. Monitoring roof activity, as well as generating necessary reports and updating an asset database to keep it current, can be provided by a competent telecom management firm.
Buildings professionals are often overwhelmed with tenant questions on what systems they can install and where, and how to get connected to either rooftop access points or demarcation points from the local telephone provider. Providing turnkey circuit provisioning, system installation, testing, and commissioning may be valuable to a tenant that does not have much expertise in “back-end” office systems. A system in place that works with a new tenant’s existing cell phone, wireless laptop, or PDA – and still provides their “wired” telephone system needs – can be attractive to a prospective business looking for office space. Most companies presently budget much of this cost into their moving expenses.
The successful use of building tenant space for telecommunication purposes can be a practical method of increasing the revenue stream of a property. Providing tenants with the most modern telecommunication services is another way of enhancing property values. The delivery of effective communication, entertainment, and business services positively distinguishes one property from another. It is critical, however, to fully understand and design new systems based on the environment that already exists in a building.
Awareness of today’s growing telecommunication technologies, issues, and practices empowers building owners and managers to take complete advantage of the opportunities that can exist between the telecommunications and real estate industries.
Comsearch, an Allen Telecom Co. headquartered in Ashburn, VA, provides total solution global offerings for wireless engineering design, acquisition, installation, and maintenance services. The company’s 25-plus years of experience has helped commercial building owners meet telecom requirements through asset inventory, mobile device in-building coverage, interference resolution, rooftop management and optimization, project management, and tenant assistance. For more information, contact (800) 318-1234 or visit (www.comsearch.com).