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Designing For Density: Buildings Meet Increased Demand With Connectivity Infrastructure


When it comes to placemaking, communities are only as strong as the environments they create. High-density, mixed-use developments are on the rise and continue to grow in popularity. But these developments present both opportunities and challenges. As more people move to populous environments, property managers have a responsibility to invest in solutions and services that meet tenants’ needs. To stay ahead of the competition, developers are redesigning spaces with an eye toward the future, and that means taking digital connectivity to the next level. An increasing number of communities are adopting integrated network solutions that support growing demand and drive tenant productivity. 

Out With The Old

The physical infrastructure used to support digital connectivity can often be the root of connection problems. Buildings have historically relied on copper-centric networks to support connectivity. These networks, which were designed to support traditional desktop computer and landline phones, require frequent updates and cannot support multiservice networks that now include data, voice and video streaming. To keep up with connectivity demand, owners and managers have invested in fiber-centric network systems


A Fiber Future

Fiber optic communication infrastructure supports the transmission of information by sending light through a fiber cable, forming an electromagnetic carrier wave that transmits signals from one point to another. 

Modern fiber optic-based design marries data and power by extending connectivity beyond a building’s information technology closets. It reduces floor space in a building, creating more room for human movement. 

“Old legacy networks have something called floor-level switching,” Corning Optical Communications ONE Director of Solutions Architecture Jason Greene said. “Fiber eliminates the need for multiple switch closets and, by our estimate, can reduce floor space needs by 69%. This could mean huge savings for a large development with multiple floors and buildings.” 

There are several common misconceptions about fiber optic technology solutions, and some industry professionals are still getting used to the idea. Some building managers are under the impression that fiber is more delicate or requires special labor. But the data has proven otherwise. 

Modern fiber infrastructure supports secure information sharing. The simplified wiring structure is not subject to data interference. Fiber optic solutions last between 30 and 50 years, compared to copper’s five-year lifetime. 

Fiber optic infrastructure is constantly evolving. As commercial real estate professionals think about the types of communities they want to create, the industry is starting to consider implementing solutions that will meet high-traffic demand now and in the future.

This story is Part 2 of a larger series that explores the future of connectivity in the built environment. Read Part 1 of the series here. 

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