Structured Cabling and Its Importance for Hotels
The infrastructure that supports a hotel’s network is crucial in providing the best guest experience. Hotels need to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth to accommodate the demands of travelers. Guests are traveling with multiple devices such as cellphones, laptops, tablets, in addition to other devices, with the expectation of connecting them to the hotel’s network. Hotel Wi-Fi is no longer considered a convenience, it has become an expectation and can have an impact on the overall guest satisfaction. Hotel Internet Services conducted a Hospitality Wi-Fi study that found that 93% of guests felt that complimentary Wi-Fi was the most important amenity and 90% felt that it was very important to have access to Wi-Fi during their hotel stay. 85% of guests also reported that the quality of the hotel’s Wi-Fi affected their decision to book a specific hotel location or brand. The infrastructure that supports your network is important and the effectiveness of your network is dependent upon the structured cabling.
What is Structured Cabling?
Structured cabling is an essential part of every business network. Structured cabling is network cabling that supports the advancing technological needs of businesses. Structured cabling organizes your infrastructure and helps businesses to accommodate new hardware and the increasing amount of data usage. Businesses like hotels need to keep up with the rapidly growing bandwidth demand, as hotels are placing more data applications on their networks. Consumers have high expectations from their hotel stays, hotel networks must be able to meet hotel guest demands of Wi-Fi (High Speed Internet Access -HSIA), voice services, guestroom entertainment and guest streaming devices. Therefore, the infrastructure that supports the hotel network must be reliable, easily adaptable and must be able to accommodate changes, additions to the network and moves.
Structured cabling organizes the wiring and cables that are located behind walls that is essential to the performance and maintenance of your network. Structured cabling uses different types of cables, and each has a specific function. Coaxial cable transmits high-frequency electrical signals. Coaxial cables are used for services such as telephones, cable TV, broadband internet, computer data and radio transmissions.
What is Structured Cabling Used for?
Distributed Antenna Systems
Structured cabling supports distributed antenna systems for Wi-Fi coverage, wireless coverage and mass notifications. Structured cabling is also beneficial for first responders as it allows emergency radio signals in critical areas of a building during an emergency.
Audio Visual Needs
Structured cabling supports your hotel’s needs by keeping everyone connected regardless of location. Structural cabling allows for video streaming and conference streaming.
Structured cabling supports your business’s security needs by connecting all your security systems. It supports surveillance equipment and CCTV technology.
Structured cabling supports IoT technology and allows smart room features, such as control of lighting, thermostat, window shades and in-room entertainment, that can all be controlled by smartphones or other smart devices.
Marriott International’s GPNS
Marriott International sets HSIA standards (High Speed Internet Access) for all its properties based on internet usage and industry trends. Marriott sets a standard that ensures a high-quality internet experience across all its brands and was one of the first hotels to set a companywide HSIA standards that made specific data network requirements of all its properties. Marriott also created the GPNS (Global Property Network Standards) certification program for HSIA. Vendors in the industry are subjected to a stringent qualification process. The evaluation process includes testing of their products and services. Only a small number of providers have been fully designated to install and support HSIA at Marriott’s properties. Some of Marriott’s GPNS HSIA services includes, high performance Wi-Fi, internet access across their properties and back of house capabilities.
BICSI Standards for Structured Cabling
Before beginning the installation of structured cabling for your property, businesses must ensure that they are aware of the code requirements and standards that govern their jurisdiction. BICSI standards specifies best practices for structured cabling by providing guidance on the installation of telecommunications and information communication technology (ICT). BICSI standards gives businesses guidance on installation practices that meet the National Electrical Code requirements (NEC) and the National Fire Protection Association code requirements (NFPA). The Bicsi standards provides minimum requirements and procedures for the installation of infrastructure that supports telecommunication and ICT, that are used for voice, data and video data applications. In addition to ensuring that structured cabling meet the required standards set by the NFPA and NEC, building owners must also ensure that they comply with the code requirements set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA). The AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) should be consulted to determine which code requirements apply to your property. A knowledgeable provider will be aware of the proper channels that your business must undertake to ensure that installation of structured cabling meets all requirements.
Benefits of BICSI Standards
Structured cabling encompasses all the cabling that runs throughout your property and there are specific standards that govern the installation of your building’s structured cabling. Hotels must ensure that they choose a knowledgeable vendor that ensures that installations are done properly the first time. Investing in a hotel-specific vendor will ensure that BICSI standards are followed up-front and that your hotel meets all the code requirements for your structured cabling. While investing in a hotel-specific vendor will be more costly, installations will be done properly, hotels will meet all required standards and will see long term benefits of increased productivity and growth. Structured cabling done by a hotel-specific vendor will ensure that as communication technology advances and the needs of your business grows, your network will be able to easily adapt to those changes. Hotels can expect benefits such as:
Structured cabling standards aids businesses in the wiring installation process by reducing cabling bulk and congestion. Downtime is reduced, as installations are tangle free and wiring infrastructure is well organized.
Structured cabling can quickly identify issues that may arise with your network, issues with cable connections are spotted and replacements are made easily.
Supports Future Upgrades
There has been a lot of advancement in communication technology systems and hotels and businesses must be adaptable to the consistent changes. Structured cabling allows for effortless upgrades that poses very low risks to the infrastructure.
Flexibility and Reduced Install Time
Structured cabling can easily accommodate changes, additions to the network’s infrastructure and moves. Since structured cabling maintains wiring in an organized manner, this reduces the overall installation time. Structured cabling is a cost-effective solution that improves network performance.