Commercial building owners today have the option of offering their tenants
high-speed Internet services as a shared building amenity, in the same way tenants
share electricity and water - reaping additional revenue from an investment
already made into the building infrastructure. However, owners must carefully
evaluate their technology option for delivering Internet services, as it can
have a major impact on their profits.
Coaxial cable, copper-based digital subscriber line technologies (DSL), or
wireless technologies: Which is the most appropriate? While each solution is
capable of delivering broadband connections and services, each may also present
challenges when the unique needs of multi-tenant buildings (MTUs) are considered.
In the case of cable, owners must heavily invest in upgrading networks to accommodate
high-speed, two-way Internet data traffic. Moreover, the aggregated nature of
MTUs means that Internet speeds diminish as multiple users share the same cable
Wireless technology may initially seem to be a better, more "future-friendly"
choice. However, while wireless is capable of delivering high speeds, the technology
is still in its relative infancy. It can be extremely expensive, and issues
like reliability and security are not yet proven.
In contrast, DSL, any grade, is a mature technology. It runs over existing
copper telephone wires, which means it doesn't require costly and time-consuming
Admittedly, DSL presents challenges. It is a point-to-point technology, requiring
a direct connection from the telecommunications carrier's central office to
a user's PC. In the case of a densely populated building, multiple lines are
required to serve multiple users. And because DSL utilizes a copper voice line,
additional filters or splitters must be installed to avoid interference and
maximize connection quality.
Fortunately, there are scalable, high-density network systems - designed for
installation in the central wiring closet or basement of an MTU - that enable
owners to deploy high-speed Internet services for relatively little effort,
at a reasonable expense. They work seamlessly with any existing copper wiring
system, regardless of grade, which means that regular phone service is never
interrupted when tenants access the Internet.
These network systems are compatible with any connection to the Wide Area Network,
such as T-1 lines, cable modem connections, or fiber, as well as xDSL. The WAN
connection is linked to the network system in the wiring closet. From there,
the system delivers data to individual desktops at distances of 500 to 2,000
feet, at speeds of at least 15 megabits per second.
Since access alone isn't enough to satisfy tenants - or to provide building
owners with much extra revenue - there are also copper-based, multi-service
systems to support additional revenue-generating broadband services. The new
systems allow for customized delivery - and billing - of data, voice, and video
services to individual tenant companies and even each desktop, in much the same
way that tenants now have customized voice services.
These self-installable and self-provisioned multi-service systems are highly
adaptable to the individual needs of property owners and tenants.
Look closely at your old copper wiring. You may find some hidden gold!
Mark A. Carpenter is executive vice president of product marketing and development
at Tut Systems (www.tutsystems.com),