Communications, entertainment, productivity and resource management are all becoming increasingly mobile. As smartphones and mobile devices proliferate, people are expecting the same level of mobility at the office and in public spaces. Planning for successful and comprehensive wireless voice and data applications requires an understanding of networks, cabling infrastructure, building design and radio frequency (RF) signal behavior.
Smartphones, tablet computers, and other devices allow workers to perform important work away from the desk. This includes a doctor reviewing test results with a patient, a security director accessing video surveillance from across the campus, a project manager hosting a videoconference in a quiet corner of the office, or a facilities technician ordering a replacement part on the spot. Solutions such as Wi-Fi and distributed antenna systems (DAS) empower workers to be more efficient and perform work in the optimal location.
Wi-Fi networks in a campus setting offer a unique set of challenges. Students and professors need access to online course materials, research channels and email communications from classrooms, libraries and impromptu collaboration spaces, which are virtually everywhere. Staff and facilities personnel benefit from mobile access to building information, records and status from audio-visual systems, security systems, heating and air controls, email and other applications to increase productivity and improve response time.
When communications connectivity is critical, but terrain or budget prohibits the implementation of a wired solution, wireless data communication may be the answer. Another common application is wireless mesh network to support video surveillance. There are numerous wireless solutions that can connect devices or facilities across busy highways or even the Grand Canyon. Choosing the appropriate technology from traditional Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, laser devices and an array of other specialized solutions requires an assessment of the nature and bandwidth of data transmission, expected weather conditions, distance and the unique characteristics of the transmission method.
Wireless systems play a critical role in life safety. Particularly in basements or high-rise buildings, there may be areas that lack adequate cellular wireless coverage or where emergency radio signals are impeded. In such areas, distributed antenna systems (DAS) may be deployed to enhance radio reception for first responders and provide telephone coverage supporting emergency telephone calls.
After years of rapidly rolling out new technologies, many companies and institutions are finding themselves saddled with increasingly unmanageable communications infrastructures. In an effort to meet current needs while laying the groundwork for managed growth, a technology master plan can be created. A comprehensive plan may include public Wi-Fi for the general public, private Wi-Fi for employees, high performance wired networks, IP-enabled audiovisual systems, IP-enabled security and video surveillance systems, building automation systems, refreshed power and cabling infrastructure and more. Such a plan can be used for budgeting purposes and help set a path towards a high performance communications platform capable of serving users with the applications they need at their desk, in the hallways, on the road and even at home now and for the years to come.