April 4, 2017

IN-BUILDING STANDARDS

leaf graphicBuilding owners seeking to maximize the value of the project should immediately start considering the internal wiring of their building(s).  The EUGNet team is developing a set of recommended standards (attached).   These are based on the experience derived from the buildings already connected during the pilot phase.

In-Building Cabling Standards for EUGNet

These standards are designed to offer guidance on the in-building installation requirements in the downtown Eugene fiber project (EUGNet). EUGNet is  an open access network, where publicly owned infrastructure has created a competitive landscape so that that private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can compete to provide service to individual businesses in the fiber service area. These guidelines for in-building infrastructure aim to extend that competitive landscape into multi-tenant buildings, so that no single ISP has a competitive advantage over any other, and all the buildings’ tenants can choose their own service provider. Maintaining a competitive environment will contribute to lower prices and better services for tenants in the fiber service area.

These guidelines provide a description of basic infrastructure requirements to connect a building to the network and guidelines for internal cabling to connect from EWEB’s point of demarcation to individual tenants.

Utility Room Requirements

EWEB will extend the fiber into the building and terminate at its point of demarcation. Typically that point of demarcation is near the electric service entrance.  The EWEB fiber must be terminated in a room where there is a minimum of 4 ft. x 4 ft.of wall space for mounting equipment.

The ISPs’ equipment can be located in a different room than the room where the EWEB fiber terminates, but then the building owner will need to provide a fiber connection back to EWEB’s point of demarcation.

Ideally, the space for the ISPs’ equipment (Telco room) should be locked, with either a keypad or a key in a lockbox to restrict access.  ISPs should, as a condition of entering the building, be able to access this utility room on a 24/7 basis.

Ideally, there should be multiple electrical connections available (110 V AC) in this room.  The ISP equipment (switches) require a power connection.  The ISPs will install additional power outlets if that is possible and permitted.

Internal Cabling Recommendations

Each building will need to provide an internal connection from the Telco room to each floor of the building. These guidelines for internal cabling aim to help property managers install internal infrastructure that enables a competitor to easily enter the building, and not have to charge its first new customer for installation, ensuring that multiple ISPs can compete for customers and no single ISP has a competitive advantage over another.

EUGNet recommends that property managers reach out to qualified contractors to assess each building’s technical issues and costs. Check with your contractor, and perhaps with some of the ISPs who wish to serve your building, as to which option might be best for you. Please refer to Section 3 for information about qualified contractors.

This section describes three different cabling options: CAT 5e, CAT 6, and fiber. The optimal solution for any building will depend on the size of the building and the data needs of tenants.

  • CAT 5e. CAT 5e is copper cable capable of carrying a signal of up to 1 gigabit per second for distances of approximately 300 feet. It  is likely to be a viable solution for most buildings.  If you have tenant spaces that are more than 300 feet from the EWEB fiber point of demarcation, you should talk with your contractor about possibly bringing the EWEB fiber further into the building to reduce the distances of the CAT 5e span, or consider the fiber option,
  • CAT 6. This is similar to CAT 5e, but has a thicker plastic casing which reduces interference (“crosstalk”) between cables and is, therefore, more expensive. EUGNet recommends using CAT 6 if the cable will run past electrical motors or many fluorescent lights.  CAT 6 is very similar to CAT 5e, but they are not interchangeable. The equipment to process signals from fiber (at the point of demarcation) to copper is different for CAT 6 than it is for CAT 5e. The two cannot be mixed, at least for the same floor.
  • Fiber. Fiber is capable of carrying signals at any capacity that the user wishes. The fiber cabling itself is smaller and more delicate than CAT 5e and CAT 6.  The equipment that ISPs use to provide service to tenants is typically more expensive for fiber than the least expensive CAT 5e and CAT 6.  Your contractor may recommend that fiber be installed in conduit, which increases the price of installation, but provides the tenants with assurances against signal interruptions.

The technical solution will vary building by building. EUGNet expects that CAT 5e will be sufficient for smaller buildings (fewer than five stories) with typical tenants. Fiber may be more appropriate for large buildings, especially those with data-heavy tenants.  In addition, a single Telco room containing all the equipment for all ISPs to serve the building may not work in all circumstances.

In-building Cabling Contractors

EUGNet recommends that property managers hire a contractor to do the installation. The contractor can help assess the technical needs for your building and the optimal cabling solution.  The contractor should be someone experienced with handling and installing telecommunications cabling options.  Contractors with this experience are classified as ‘low voltage’ electricians. The following table lists some local contractors that have experience with telecommunications cabling. EUGNet does not endorse or certify any of these contractors.

Name Email Phone
Astrotech astrotechcomm@gmail.com (541) 683-5719
*StepUP IT Services ajay@stepupitservices.com (541) 683-5000
**Partnered Solutions robert@partneredsolutionsit.com (541) 255-4980
***Up Time hello@uptimesciences.com (541) 255-3935
ISP Affiliations: *Douglas Fast Net, **Peak Internet, ***XS Media

Many of the ISPs working in the downtown fiber service area will be willing install the in-building facilities as a part of their efforts to gain clients.  EUGNet asks that property managers be careful to insist that if they do so, the ISPs construct a system where other ISPs can get access without having to get permission or assignments from the first ISP. This will ensure the competitive landscape of the publicly owned network extends into each building.

Recommended Course of Action

EUGNet recommends property managers take the following steps to maximize the value of the fiber infrastructure for buildings connected to the fiber network.

  1. Select and contract with a cabling contractor.  Work with that contractor to develop your budget and your expectations for the building.
  2. Direct your contractor to meet with several potential ISPs (participated ISPs are listed at EUGNet.org) and to meet with some tenants.  Direct your contractor to use these meetings to come up with a plan for optimal wiring.
  3. Review the plan with your contractor an issue and develop an appropriate contract for construction services.
  4. Develop a standard agreement form for ISPs in the building.  EUGNet recommends the agreement include terms that require if an ISP loses a tenant’s business, that ISP disconnect the building’s cable without damaging it, to make it available for another provider to use.  EUGNet also recommends that the building owner asks ISPs to assume responsibility for maintenance of the cable during their use, and that cable be returned to the building owner in the same condition as it was when it was acquired.

The cabling infrastructure will be the property of the building owner and it will be an amenity for the building’s tenants.  EUGNet has found that the presence of internal cabling increases the attractiveness of the building for tenants.

Please note that EUGNet does not intend to force any change regarding telecom services for the property owners or their tenants. Based on the project’s experience to date, the different tenants in a building are all on different contracts for telecom services and will be interested in engaging with the EUGNet service providers on different timelines. In the long term, connecting to the EUGNet network will ensure that existing and future tenants have choices regarding telecom service providers.