In this article I want to quickly go over 5 reasons on why designing integrated ELV systems considerably reduces construction costs.
Unfortunately, many ELV designers still base their designs on traditional systems running on proprietary networks for various building management systems, as well as separate telephony, data and television networks each with their separate/multiple cabling systems.
This results to increased costs, limited functionality, and complex management.
The solution is a modern design based on integration of all ELV systems over an IP-based network. This calls for a higher level of technical expertise and experience, and a good combination of networking and ELV knowledge. As you will see below, the results are higher efficiency at lower OPEX and CAPEX costs, and reduction in risks of delay:
1- Unified Cabling and Pathways
Unlike traditional solutions where each system would need to use its own cabling system and pathway (CAT6 for network, copper multi-core twisted pair for telephony, coaxial cable for TV systems, twisted cable for PAGA, control cable for ACS, …), in a modern IP-based ELV design, all systems mainly use the same common data network, hence considerably decreasing the costs on cabling and pathways.
Of course the installation of common cabling and pathways requires planning of the containment systems at the early stages of the project so that the optimum routes can be designed by experienced network designers.
2- Less Quality / Interference Problems
One of the key challenges of traditional analog designs especially for systems such as CCTV, telephony, and television is the complication during the design and installation to ensure that proper quality of audio and picture is obtained. Although things might look good on paper, in the course of installation and commissioning many unforeseen problems usually pop up, which cause further unexpected delays on project timelines and increase on forecasted costs. Problems can arise such as grounding problems, quality issues of cables and connectors, and electrical and ground-loop noise which directly affect analog solutions. In IP based solutions, by implementing a digital/IP based backbone these issues are no longer a concern.
3- Lower Costs for Expandability
Most of traditional ELV systems are very limited on the available means of expandability over large compounds. For example, to expand a conventional analog telephony, CCTV, or public alert system over a medium-sized compound, kilometers or miles of cables need to be physically laid. This calls for expensive, multi-core copper cables that are both expensive and hard to lay. While on new IP based solutions, the network cloud consisting of all types of connection mediums such as much less expensive fiber cables or even microwave links can be used to seamlessly interconnect remote areas at a fraction of the costs of traditional solutions.
4- Easier Management and Troubleshooting
IP-based unified ELV solutions are by far easier to manage and troubleshoot, because the maintenance staff do not need to bother about multiple cabling systems and connections, and the cabling (called physical layer in data networks) is easily managed and checked. The overall needed experience and troubleshooting time required for maintaining the systems are also considerably lower and usually a single computer would be sufficient for managing and troubleshooting the all systems from a centralized location.
5- Capability for Remote Management
Unlike traditional analog solutions, IP-based systems can be remotely managed and reconfigured, with minimum physical changes required. This saves considerably on maintenance costs while bringing many new features and possibilities.
Other Benefits of Unified ELV Systems
Costs savings is not the only benefit of modern IP-based integrated ELV systems – there are more benefits such as:
- Much more functionalities and features
- Expandability with no need to redo the infrastructure
- Software upgradability
- Integration of different systems
In a future article I will explain the challenges of designing modern integrated ELV systems.