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Trends to watch for in ’06

The proliferation of free public wireless access will slow down at the same time the need for quality cabling installers will pick up speed.


November 1, 2005  


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At the end of each calendar year, there’s always anticipation about what the next 12 months might bring. Making predictions is always tricky, but I’ve dusted off the old crystal ball and knocked myself on the head a few times and will hazard a few educated guesses.

Wireless Public Access and Wireless LANs: The proliferation of free public wireless has been slowing down. We will start to see pay for usage pick up as retailers and owners of public spaces try to offset increasing costs.

I predict the development of “pay as you go” software to make capturing that revenue easier. In other words, we may see “double shot latte with 15 minutes of Internet” on the menu sooner than we think.

As we all know, wireless does not mean no wire, just less wire. That will continue to be the case.

As well, many users and companies have viewed wireless as an application to a problem, when it should be looked at as an infrastructure integrated within the overall cabling design to support an application.

That way, proper planning for pathways, power and signal propagation can be done in the construction or renovation stage, and other applications can take advantage of the infrastructure design.

Cabling Installation: We are fortunate in that cabling infrastructure is standards-based in Canada. Plus, we have manufacturers who provide the highest quality components and cables in the world.

These systems are capable of everything over IP. The only holdback is installation quality and training.

I predict that as more time sensitive critical IP applications such as voice and real time video are layered on to the infrastructure, installation errors will surface.

I urge installers to get educated and keep up to date on processes and practices. That way you will give the best work to your customers and eliminate expensive callbacks. Fiber To The Home: The numbers speak for themselves. Millions of homes are getting fiber to the demarc or within meters of the house. This will be a huge opportunity for folks with outside plant and fiber work experience.

Power over Ethernet (PoE): I predict that wattage power availability will increase and that the devices needing power will also be more efficient. So, look for more PoE enabled devices.

That will lead to a greater ROI opportunity in a number of ways. What makes more sense: wireless PC access with hydro outlets to power the PC, or cabling with PoE to allow a client to save on installing hydro outlets?

We have seen this with cameras and access points, what’s to stop or reduce the amount of outlets used to run PCs? We could then centralize UPS requirements, move them away from point of use and back to the TR, where we can install more efficient and better-managed UPS systems.

One thing that never changes in our profession is the constant need for first-rate education and training. Information transport systems (ITS) designers or installers who are knowledgeable about the latest trends and techniques will produce high quality work and save their clients time and money.

Of course, you can’t talk about ITS education and training without BICSI in the conversation. BICSI has a proven track record of offering excellent ITS training courses, technical manuals, registration programs and educational conferences.

For details on all these areas, visit www.bicsi.org, but in the meantime here is a sneak preview on BICSI’s 2006 manuals.

Five New Manuals

BICSI manuals have a reputation for providing the latest techniques and methodologies in all phases of ITS design and installation.

Carefully researched by a team of subject matter experts, all BICSI manuals are vendor-neutral, which makes them both useful and versatile references I speak from first-hand experience here. Complete with illustrations, index, glossary and bibliography, the manuals are published both in three-ring binders and on CD-ROM.

In 2006, BICSI will offer two new publications and three updated editions. Here’s a list of titles and publications dates. They include:

* Electronic Safety and Security Design Reference Manual, 1st edition, January 2006

* Network Design Reference Manual, 6th edition, January 2006

* Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, 11th edition, May 2006

* Audio Visual Design Reference Manual, 1st edition, TBD

* Wireless Design Reference Manual, 2nd edition, June 2006

Roman Dabrowski, RCDD, is the Canadian Director of BICSI and a Director of Product Management with Bell Canada. He can be reached via e-mail at rdabrowski@bicsi.org.