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17 January 2019
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Indi Sall

8 January 2018 | Indi Sall

Indi Sall, director at NG Bailey, discusses whether the wireless revolution has made wires redundant. 

The wireless smart hub has become the centre of the digital home, connecting smart TVs, speakers, printers, lighting, power and heating controls, and providing a platform for voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa. This wireless environment is also becoming increasingly visible in the corporate world. Does this mean that the time has come to abandon wires?

In terms of throughput speed and continuity the wired world still reigns. But when considering flexibility,, cables fall by the wayside. 

Couple IoT with business’s appetites for cloud services and workforce mobility, then combine it with end-users’ insatiable use of streamed and social media, and it’s easy to see the growth in wireless connectivity and the need for investment in the latest wireless technologies to cope with demand.

Increasingly good quality Wi-Fi is being seen as a utility service. Technologies such as Li-Fi will enable new forms of data connectivity using LED light rather than radio waves, offering the potential to support even faster data speeds and capacity to support the huge expansion in the number of IoT devices.

So should we still care about cables? For guardians of the large buildings and shared spaces in tomorrow’s smart cities the answer has to be ‘yes’ because behind every headline-grabbing wireless solution is an unseen and indispensable structured cable network. These cables might pick up wireless data from miles away, or take on your data from right beneath your feet. Either way, it takes a tremendous amount of hard cabling to backhaul wireless.

As networks in our buildings undergo their inevitable digital upgrade, the quality of the back-end design will determine whether future wireless technologies can be integrated and how easily they can be supported. This is why specialist systems integrators are  fundamental to the success of smart buildings. 

Although the number of data points will fall, the infrastructure within digital buildings will need to be based on the latest cable standards supporting 10GB over copper and 100Gb over fibre. 

Indi Sall is technical director of IT Services, at NG Bailey