In my recent article 5 Reasons Why Integrated ELV Systems Reduce Costs, I tried to explain briefly how a well-designed integrated and IP-based unified ELV system considerably reduces construction costs.
However, like any other good thing, this comes with its own set of challenges to tackle!
Integrating complex ELV systems into a single LAN network requires high design experience and extremely good knowledge about integrated technologies.
The network designer who is responsible for the design of the unified ELV system must have an in-depth understanding of both the passive layer (cabling/containment) and the active layer (network switches and routers).
One of the main challenges in utilizing the same network for different systems is the calculation of the required bandwidth. This is especially important to ensure that audio/video related technologies such as CCTV (surveillance cameras), IPTV (TV system) and VoIP (telephone) – systems that highly depend on IP streaming techniques – are not jittered.
Some of the design considerations needed to achieve the best results are listed as follows:
- Ensuring a proper network topology with correct IP plan that allows expandability
- Ensuring the usage of correct network switches to achieve the needed bandwidth while controlling the costs
- Determining the correct backbone media to use for future expansion
- Ensuring proper network segregation by implementing Virtual LAN (VLAN) techniques
- Implementing IGMP snooping for controlling IPTV multicasts
- Ensuring backbone redundancy
Another challenge to tackle at the design level of a unified ELV system is selecting the right products to use. There are so many brands for so many systems that need to be integrated into a unified, IP-based solution – and due to the diversity of solutions, there is no single brand that even claims they can cover everything.
So it becomes absolutely critical to ensure that the right products from correct vendors are determined for each specific project, based on the project requirements as well as the priorities. It is also very important to ensure that the selected solutions can actually seamlessly blend into a single, unified solution.
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