This Web Exclusive comes from Anixter.
A major financial institution that principally serves Australia and New Zealand supports nearly eight million customers in 32 countries by employing 48,000 people worldwide plans to construct one of the largest office buildings in the Southern Hemisphere. The complex and technically advanced building also aims to achieve a 6 Star Green Rating through the Green Building Council of Australia.
The 10-story building the size of a cricket field built by the company also needs to feature the latest infrastructure technologies to make its employees competitive in the financial markets. This means installing a flexible networking infrastructure able to be adapted to changing technologies while minimizing disruptions to the physical building and employees’ work. With more than 6,500 employees moving into the building, the company needed a solution that allowed it to add workstations, employees, and access as needed without disruption or difficulty.
Anixter was contacted when the plans for the new office building were being developed. The consultant on the project recommended a raised floor infrastructure throughout the building to provide greater environmental control.
“The infrastructure had to be extremely flexible, because financial institutions are known for moving people and equipment around,” said Anixter’s Business Development Manager for Australia. “The company was very aware of real estate and needed a solution that provided the right technology but also maximized the existing space.”
Anixter’s technical experts joined the project and began to educate the customer on the importance of integrating a fourth-utility concept that treats the networking infrastructure similar to that of electricity, water, or gas. This concept (called the IP Connected EnterpriseSM) integrates various IP-based systems, such as access control and video, onto one network that also serves the data communications. By implementing a fourth-utility concept, the company was able to consolidate its networking infrastructure for added flexibility.
The cabling running through the subfloor was distributed through consolidation points. Unlike traditional cabling that runs from a patch panel to an outlet, consolidation points are like intermediate points that are put into the subfloor zones. This introduces flexibility into the infrastructure design by removing the need to pull out the cabling to accommodate new employees. A wall-mount solution was recommended to maximize the dynamic office environment that typically experiences constant changing and rearranging of employees.
The additional flexibility of this system would go beyond building design and into the infrastructure as well. The company originally asked for Category 6 cabling, which could handle current demands. However, a Category 6A solution would not only offer increased bandwidth, but it would also provide the ability to run Power over Ethernet Plus technology that can run some laptops, PTZ cameras, IP telephones, and wireless access points over the same cabling used to run the data communications.
Even though the company’s current requirements didn’t call for any PoE+ technology, given the desired lifespan of the infrastructure, it was inevitable that some of this technology would be introduced. Test results showed that with Category 6 cabling, the increased wattage of PoE+ (24 W-30 W) resulted in additional heat in the cables, which could reduce network performance. Under the same tests, Category 6A cabling showed minor degradation due to the heat generated by the power running through the cable. The company saw the benefit of installing Category 6A cabling for a flexible, future-proof installation and avoided having to replace its cabling infrastructure before it was intended.
To achieve its 6 Star Green Rating, the company eliminated the use of any PVC jacked materials in the cabling infrastructure. Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) cabling—flame retardant and nontoxic—was installed. In addition to using natural light, reducing greenhouse gases, and generating its own electricity, the cabling also reduces the introduction of harmful chemical compounds into the environment.
Anixter used its deployment services (specifically its READY!SM Workstation offering) to ease challenges on the job site. Consequently, Anixter was able to kit the components for each workstation build out into small plastic bags that were then delivered to a specific installation site at the building on an as-needed basis. By stripping patch cords and properly labeling components, Anixter was able to deliver value-added products that streamlined the installation process and allowed the integrator to focus on its core competencies.
During the year-long project, Anixter became involved in all the design aspects and specifications for the infrastructure products and worked closely with the consultants and integrator to deploy a solution that met the financial institution’s needs. So far, the company has expressed delight with the speed and ease of usability of the network.
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