Who Else Wants to Bring Higher Bandwidth to Commercial Buildings?

With the demand for higher bandwidth growing exponentially, integrators are starting to meet this demand by the increased deployment of high bandwidth fiber optics via the use of Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON).

Joseph Vilella

Today, the need to provide higher communications speeds (bandwidth) for smart phones, tablets and portable computers, and Wi-Fi portals, has dramatically increased in all related sectors.

This insatiable high bandwidth demand and the ensuing intolerance for slow download and upload speeds has also impacted the home entertainment sector. In it, having higher bandwidth for access to the Internet and video downloads is a top concern of the apartment complexes’ tenants.

Employees of corporations within multi-tenant buildings are also emphatic in their complaints about slower bandwidth to the point that many corporations are vacating buildings that fall short of today’s minimum bandwidth expectations.

This was not the case in 2011, when our company, SPADA Innovations, Inc. (SPADA), was talking up the need for higher bandwidth infrastructure to Commercial developers. At that time, nobody seemed to care.

Fast forward to 2016 and bandwidth demand is moving to critical levels. Commercial developers are facing unrelenting pressure from modern day tenants. They expect to move into buildings that have the necessary infrastructure to readily support bandwidth geared to satisfying their present and future business needs. 

This voracious need for bandwidth is growing at such a fast (dare I say, exponential) rate, that it is quickly rendering a large segment of the existing commercial buildings in the United States obsolete.  Very close attention must be paid to this problem because based on the bandwidth demands we are seeing at the present, five years from now, developers could be looking at multi-Gigabit bandwidth demands as the norm.

If the commercial real estate sector is not ready to support that speed increase, it will be facing massive vacancy rates and a mad rush to solve a problem that by its complex nature requires proper foresight, strategic planning and a well thought execution across large portfolios of impacted properties. 

Meeting the Demand with GPON

Today, the need for higher bandwidth is being satisfied by the increased deployment of high bandwidth fiber optics. The ideal means for propagation is via the use of Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON). GPON was initially deployed in the United States in the mid 2000’s as a “Fiber to the Home” play for Verizon, with it’s FiOS home entertainment triple play solution.

In the late 2000’s GPON started gaining a frustratingly slow traction as a “Fiber to the Desktop” solution in the commercial sector.  This slow adoption rate was primarily prompted by an IT Industry that was clearly adamant to stick to the slow, expensive and energy wasteful copper networks that may have worked at the time, but do not have any workable future as the demand for bandwidth ramps up.

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It is an indisputable fact that copper DOES have a bandwidth limit. The closer bandwidth demand gets to that limit, the larger the diameters of copper cables gets, the shorter the length of the cables gets and the more expensive a copper network infrastructure is.

Here is a copper-cabling snapshot: 1 Gigabit speeds can be sent through a copper cable length of 330 feet needing amplification after that distance is exceeded. That is where we are today and those copper networks are being rendered obsolete as we speak. 

Beyond 1 Gigabit up to 10 Gigabits can be sent through a copper cable length of 165 feet, which means cutting the distance in half and using even more and expensive amplification.