RE/MAX designs to sell with high-performance cabling

The real estate franchise’s new corporate office gets decked out for data communications, VoIP, multimedia, and broadcast applications.

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The real estate franchise’s new corporate office gets decked out for data communications, VoIP, multimedia, and broadcast applications.

by Stephane Bourgeois

Founded in 1973, RE/MAX International, Inc. (www.remax.com) has evolved into the world’s leading real estate franchise networks, with more than 120,000 agents operating in 6,500 offices in more than 65 countries around the globe. The award-winning firm recently opened the doors of its new corporate headquarters building in Denver, CO—a world-class facility housing a world-class technology infrastructure. The 256,000-square-foot structure comprises 10 floors of office space, an entry lobby, training center, a fully equipped professional broadcast studio, and a five-level enclosed parking structure.

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RE/MAX required a robust, high-bandwidth infrastructure to support its internal IT and communications network, as well as a complete broadcasting network to provide programming services to RE/MAX franchisees around the globe.
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The stunning new headquarters features contemporary architecture and design, both inside and out. It also houses a leading-edge cabling infrastructure built to support the most advanced technology and communications systems available in the world today—all supported by Belden’s (www.belden.com) state-of-the-art signal transmission solutions.

Building for today and the future

To coordinate and specify the building’s telecommunications, electrical, mechanical, fire alarm, CATV, A/V and security systems, award-winning designer Barber Architecture (www.barberarchitecture.com) brought in Swanson Rink, Inc. (www.rink.com), a leading Denver-based engineering firm. James Embury, RCDD, Swanson Rink’s manager of IT design, served as project manager to provide oversight and construction administration, and to ensure the quality and coordination of the project. Avant Datacomm Solutions (www.avantdata.com) of Golden, CO, a Belden certified system vendor (CSV), was invited to join the team to provide the cabling system installation.

According to Embury, “This was a total teameffort from start to finish, with all participants workingclosely together to ensure a successful installation. Since RE/MAX is a technology leader in real estate, its corporate management wanted to be sure that the networking and other communications systems were also top notch. That is why, for example, they chose to implement a VoIP system right at the start. And they mandated the selection of top-tier products and fully certified installers, knowing this was the best way to ensure superior performance in meeting current needs, as well as being ready to meet ambitious needs for the future.”

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The new RE/MAX facility features a state-of-the-art networking, communications and broadcasting infrastructure.
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Another key to the trouble-free installation was Swanson Rink’s use of a specialized IT software application, which enables a 3D “collision check” drawing that simulates an above-the-ceiling pilot test to prevent any collision ofcable trays with other building system conduits.

End-to-end branded installation

Installing the entire cabling infrastructure took just under a year. Now complete, the IT and communications framework supports:

  • A centralized data center;
  • Enterprise-wide VoIP service;
  • Multiple auditoriums, conference and meeting rooms equipped with A/V and multimedia capabilities;
  • A complete closed-circuit television security and surveillance system;
  • A fire alarm system and biometric access controlsecurity system;
  • A professional cable television and broadcast studio.

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In the RE/MAX Satellite Network TV studio, Belden IBDN System 4800LX “beyond Category 6” networking cables have been installed to link the equipment room with the production studios and post-production editing rooms.
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Commenting on the decision to deploy Belden cabling throughout the new facility, Shawn Haggerty, president of Avant Datacomm Solutions, notes: “Avant Datacomm has worked with RE/MAX over several years and introduced the firm to Belden’s products and quality standards. So, it was no surprise when RE/MAX and Swanson Rink specified Belden-brand cabling throughout—with no substitutions or alternatives allowed. Every system in the new facility, including the entire cabling infrastructure, affirms the fact that RE/MAX is an enterprise technology leader.”

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The blue-jacketed cables shown here terminating in one of the building’s 13 intermediate crossconnect rooms are Belden IBDN GigaFlex Patch Panels, which are built on a patented technology designed to deliver exceptionally stable signal transmission performance.
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When the installation was complete, Avant Datacomm had deployed more than 2,000 copper-based and optical-fibercables for networking and connectivity (2,200 drops), along with many components of Belden’s Cable Management solution. In addition, all of the audio/video, broadcasting, CATV, CCTV, security and fire alarm systems use Belden Brilliance and New Generation brands of specialty electronic cables.

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The wide array of production equipment in the broadcast studio is housed in sturdy floor-mounted racks, a key component of Belden’s end-to-end cable-management solution.
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Installing the infrastructure
The IBDN FiberExpress System was specified for the building’s IT backbone. This optical-fiber riser and distribution system offers high bandwidth and transmission speed, as well as the potential for network growth, extended reach, fault tolerance and optimum data security in supporting multi-gigabit protocols.

For RE/MAX’s enterprise data communications and VoIP systems, Avant Datacomm deployed the Belden IBDN System 4800LX, which offers a 4.8-Gbit/sec guaranteed data rate. This copper-based, “beyond Category 6” structured cabling solution is also designed and engineered to meet the high-bandwidth requirements of multi-gigabit networking.

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Belden IBDN FiberExpress System cables and Optimax connectors provide the RE/MAX building’s optical-fiber backbone. Patch panels shown here are installed in the building’s main crossconnect.
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GigaFlex UTP cables deployed in the 4800LX System are designed to provide consistently high channel performance, and with large margins over recognized industry standards. The GigaFlex Modules (punchdown UTP connectors) are based on Belden’s patented Encapsulated Lead Frame technology, which promises long-term reliability and stable transmission performance. The module design allows signals to pass virtually unchanged through the connector, thereby maintaining signal strength and integrity.

In addition to the main, centrally located data center, each floor of office space houses a telecommunications room from which the horizontalcables are routed to individual workstations. Recognizing that efficient cable management is essential to the reliability of enterprise network performance, Avant Datacomm also installed Beldencable-management components, including a large number of equipment racks, vertical wire managers, horizontal channels, and cable management accessories.

When installation of the networking system was completed, the installer testedit for performance, using Fluke (www.flukenetworks.com) test equipment, and subsequently issued RE/MAX a Belden Channel Category 6, 25-year warranty.

Professional-quality broadcast and A/V

Because RE/MAX International serves a global network of franchisees, corporate management specified that, in addition to high-speed data services, the new facility had to incorporate a sophisticated professional broadcast studio, from which an array of programming services are fed to Echostar (www.echostarfixedsatellite.com) via an optical-fiber connection. The company’s programming includes certification, educational and training courses related to real estate and computer technology, sales and marketing tools, and access to the RE/MAX Convention and various events throughout the year.

Brilliance cables are the mainstay of the broadcast and A/V systems, and a variety of New Generation cables were installedto support the fire alarm, CCTV andaccess control/security systems.

Keith Wyllie, senior manager of IT support services for RE/MAX notes, “To ensure the performance and reliability of our broadcast facility and other A/V applications across the enterprise, all of these systems utilize the same Belden cabling products that have earned distinction in the professionalaudio/video and broadcast industry.”

Wyllie confirmed that the multi-gigabit networking system and other signal transmission systems throughout the building will meet the company’s current and future needs: “We wanted a world class building, and that meant everythinginside had to be world class.”

STEPHANE BOURGEOIS is product line manager for Belden’s IBDN copper systems (www.belden.com).

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