Enabling IoT capabilities through a single converged IP network

July 1, 2016
Panduit enabled Cisco Systems to increase its network availability and productivity while enhancing the workplace experience for employees.

By William R. MacGowan, Cisco; and Bob Hickey, Panduit

Cisco Systems Inc. designs and sells broad lines of products, provides services, and delivers converged solutions to develop and connect networks globally. As the leader in communications and internet solutions and services, Cisco supplies the networking foundation for some of the largest service providers, commercial businesses, and enterprise customers in the world, including corporations, government agencies, utilities, and educational institutions.

At Cisco’s Canadian headquarters, more than 2500 Power over Ethernet ports run on Category 6 cabling, with some Category 6A copper cabling connecting several higher-band switches.

Cisco celebrates longstanding years of business in Canada and employs 2,000 people across 11 offices in the country. The company is dedicated to changing Canada’s innovation path by supporting research efforts with Canadian universities, investments in primary research, and establishing a world-class facility in Toronto to promote Internet of Things (IoT) innovation.

The IoT connects people, processes, data, and things. It helps deliver better customer experiences and create new revenue streams and operating models to drive efficiency and produce value. This connection allows Cisco to enhance efficiency and savings while establishing long-lasting customer partnerships, delivering to them solutions that support continued success.

Business challenges

Cisco understands the importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) and shares a collective vision with many of its technology partners, focusing on solutions and outcomes when constructing a smart and connected and digitized building. When Cisco decided to occupy four floors in the newly constructed Oxford Properties building in Toronto, it envisioned a facility that incorporates many in-building technologies to make it one of the world’s smartest buildings, demonstrating leadership in the industry.

The Oxford Properties high-rise (RBC Waterpark Place III) was a prime location for Cisco’s new Canadian headquarters. The entire base building infrastructure was equipped with a converged backbone network, which the Cisco Canada Smart and Connected Real Estate team previously worked on with Oxford Properties. The four floors accommodating the new headquarters would occupy more than 100,000 square feet of employee office space, meeting rooms, system engineering and testing labs, solution demo rooms, and an executive briefing facility for customers.

The Customer Experience Centre benefits from its aesthetically appealing location within RBC Waterpark Place III, enabling Cisco Systems to showcase its ability to help implement the technologies within the facility.

Prior to relocating, Cisco IT and the Smart and Connected Real Estate team collaborated to determine the challenges in the current building as they related to employee workplace mobility, efficiency, and productivity. The Cisco teams developed a plan to incorporate traditional and non-traditional technologies to greatly enhance the workplace experience for employees. Non-traditional technologies included IP Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting; environmental monitoring; IP PoE heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls; automation; and energy management. Traditional technologies included Voice over IP (VoIP), IP security, IP door access control, and wireless access points (WAPs).

Cisco required a robust physical infrastructure that enables all of these technologies and lowers capital expenses. In addition, Cisco required adequate space to keep pace with future growth of the company.

Strategic objectives

It was important for Cisco to enhance communication for its employees by delivering more data rapidly and efficiently. To achieve this goal, Cisco wanted to leverage the base-building converged network, provided by Oxford Properties, and the state-of-the-art telecommunications room and data centers designed by Cisco IT.

A secure, converged IP infrastructure would enable Cisco to use real-time information across converged building systems to centrally manage resources more effectively, enabling greater risk management and increasing overall performance. It would also replace siloed networks, achieving savings in both capital expenses and operational expenses.

Panduit’s PatchRunner high-capacity vertical cable management system supports the main distribution and horizontal areas of the data center.

In addition, Cisco needed to gain more visibility to its operations to streamline in-building and IT processes while controlling most IP-related utilities on each of the four floors.

Another important goal for Cisco was to apply an expansive PoE system to deliver power to various devices in the space, including climate control and lighting. This would allow for simplified installation, flexibility, and improved reliability for powered devices. The PoE implementation would include the following PoE components to enable new IP devices: IP lighting, variable air volume (VAV) controllers, security cameras, environmental sensors, VoIP phones, and door access controls. Cisco also wanted to deploy high-speed wired and wireless access.

Finally, an aesthetically appealing location was important for Cisco to enhance its employees’ user experience in the workplace while showcasing its ability to help implement such technologies with customers.

Cabling solution

Panduit was instrumental in helping Cisco decide which technology components should be a part of the converged backbone. Along with Panduit’s solution, selected partners for this project were EllisDon, who served as the smart building integrator, and Guild Electric, who served as the prime electrical and structured cabling contractor.

Cisco deployed the Panduit copper and fiber cabling system to address the need for improved flexibility and consistent network reliability to support its growing and changing network requirements.

The company implemented several thousand Om4 and OS1/OS2 singlemode fiber connections for the converged backbone, including support for 40-Gbit applications. There are 2,500-plus PoE ports running on Category 6 cabling with some Category 6A copper cabling connecting several of Cisco’s higher band switches internally.

4 multimode Opti-Com QuickNet rack-mount fiber cassette enclosures and preterminated cable trunks." title="The cabling deployment at Cisco Systems’ Canadian headquarters includes Om4 multimode Opti-Com QuickNet rack-mount fiber cassette enclosures and preterminated cable trunks.">The cabling deployment at Cisco Systems’ Canadian headquarters includes Om4 multimode Opti-Com QuickNet rack-mount fiber cassette enclosures and preterminated cable trunks.

The deployment also includes the Opti-Com QuickNet rack-mount fiber cassette enclosures and preterminated cable trunks to protect fiber-optic cables and connectors, ensuring end-to-end signal integrity.

Cabling is routed through the FiberRunner cable routing system to improve cable management for copper data cables, fiber-optic cables, and power cables, while minimizing installation time within Cisco’s data center.

Panduit’s PatchRunner High Capacity Vertical Cable Management System is in the main distribution and horizontal areas of the data center to help manage Cisco’s networking equipment. The system allows for visually pleasing, efficient organization, and protection of the high-performance cables, enhancing network reliability and reducing operational expenses.

William MacGowan, PE, CEM, co-author of this article, is shown here at the Customer Experience Centre within the Oxford Properties high-rise, RBC Waterpark Place III in Toronto.

Panduit’s Mini-Com Modules provide flexibility for Cisco across the installation, simplifying moves, adds and changes, and reducing operational expenses.

The PanMPO connector attaches the connecting switch gear with fiber-optic transceivers to the server equipment. It easily converts between male and female gender, and polarity of the fiber connector in the field, improving operational efficiency, and saving time and costs. The small interconnect cables minimize waste, optimize cable management, speed deployment, and improve flexibility and manageability.

Business benefits

Panduit sees firsthand the value in investing time and research-and-development in the smart and connected real estate business and how it benefits customers. To enhance user experience, specifically in Canada, Panduit is collaborating with alliance partners and the consultant community to help promote converged technologies in the commercial space.

The new, converged IP network provides a flexible migration path for future growth and allows Cisco to respond to customer demands easier and faster.

Cisco Systems designs and sells broad lines of products, provides services, and delivers converged solutions to develop and connect networks globally.

The secure converged IP network also allows real-time monitoring of external daylight levels, temperature, and occupancy. All equipment operates on one network, allowing building tenants to easily connect devices such as lighting to access control to heating, which provides personal comfort control. This empowers tenants to be more innovative and achieve next-generation experiences within a comfortable setting.

Through its converged network infrastructure system, Panduit is helping Cisco transform the way buildings are designed, built, managed, and experienced. Placing all devices and equipment onto a single IT infrastructure increases Cisco’s business operations while reducing capital expenses to achieve a secure, scalable facility.

William R. MacGowan, PE, CEM is director of smart building digitization with Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com).

Bob Hickey is strategic account manager with Panduit (www.panduit.com).

Cabling Innovators Honoree

The cabling installation project at Cisco Systems’ Canadian headquarters was honored with a 2015 Cabling Innovators Platinum Award. The awards program’s judges determined that the innovations put to use within the headquarters demonstrated superb innovation, resulting in a groundbreaking level of performance and efficiency. Congratulations to Cisco Systems and Panduit on this honor. Look for 2016 Cabling Innovators Awards honorees on our website, cablinginstall.com, in September, and in the October issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine.

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