Reliable connectivity without any restrictions – all the time, at full speed, on any device, from anywhere – is now an expectation in any industry.

From healthcare to higher education, customer experience and satisfaction is a primary business objective. Because of this expectation, connectivity is now considered a “fourth utility” that is just as important as electricity, water and HVAC.

Counting connectivity as an essential utility marks a definitive change in the way building owners have approached their networks in the past.

Previously, additional bandwidth needs have been addressed reactively, as technology and associated demands evolve. This often resulted in the creation of multiple parallel networks, and these copper-based networks require more and more duct and closet space than a building can support.

In commercial real estate, building owners have realised that deploying upgrades to react to changing consumer needs is actually playing a constant game of catch-up. It’s clear that the demand for bandwidth within the building will only increase.

Consumers will continue to access Wi-Fi, cellular, and VoIP networks, while property managers will add continually evolving demands from their building operations.

“Rip and replace” is out

Many commercial real estate professionals have become early adopters of technology that has empowered them to meet their business objectives. Recognising the demand for reliable connectivity, they are now selecting all-fibre solutions instead of traditional copper networks.

Fibre networks are highly flexible and future-ready, allowing forward-looking managers to build networks which can support in-building applications such as Wi-Fi, LAN, security, VoIP and other IP-based services.

Fibre networks addresses the communication needs of today while laying the foundation to easily handle future connectivity requirements. Building managers are able to deploy disruption-free connectivity that lasts the life of a building with no ripping or replacing of cabling required, even as demand grows.

Beyond the vertical backbone, a complete installation of fibre optical infrastructure is gaining dominance. Fibre is used to connect continents, regions, cities and homes, and is fast becoming the de facto standard for in-building network infrastructure.

Proactive real estate developers and operators understand that only base-building systems created via an all-fibre infrastructure provides tenants with the bandwidth they need to address for future needs.

They know that as data traffic increases, copper cabling in horizontal networking creates cumbersome “choke points” in any network. Fibre infrastructure is able to alleviate the bottlenecks, which ultimately simplifies day-to-day operations for building owners.

And while we have discussed commercial real estate professionals being early adopters to this technology, traditional local area network (LAN) owners can realise the same benefits and provide the same level of connectivity for their customers.

“All fibre” is in

Going “all fibre” not only solves the choke point challenges, but allows network owners and operators to converge multiple disparate network applications over a single-fibre infrastructure, providing potential for growth and expansion into the future.

These benefits are impressive. Starting on day one and extending over the life of the building, fibre-based infrastructure uses lower power and there is a reduction in equipment, installation and maintenance costs when compared with copper.

Furthermore, buildings that have fibre optic infrastructure installed are realising the benefits in CapEx and OpEx reductions, the return of valuable floor, overhead and telecom room space, and alleviated congestion in conduit and closets.

By embracing the building’s network as the fourth utility, building owners can make the strong case that deploying fibre infrastructure just once saves time and expenses in the long run, and discontinues the expensive rip-and-replace cycle caused by copper’s distance and bandwidth limitations.

Why wait?

In the world of commercial real estate, future proofing the investment is key. In order to meet evolving infrastructure needs, to deliver virtually unlimited bandwidth and significantly enhanced capabilities, investors are opting to use fibre across their properties.

A converged fibre solution makes multiple, independent copper-based systems – and their costly, disruptive rip-and-replace cycles – a thing of the past. The result of these upgrades is the creation of future-friendly infrastructure that will accommodate today’s explosive mobile use and is easily upgradable to address tomorrow’s network demands.

Despite the seemingly endless benefits for real estate professionals, their tenants are usually the driver behind a converged fibre infrastructure being deployed. Reliable connectivity differentiates commercial properties for tenants whose businesses cannot afford network disruptions, dead zones, or buffering.

With high occupancy rates increasingly dependent on network investments – it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” investors will get out of the catch-up game, and this includes traditional local area networks.

With the value that comes with a converged fibre network starting on day one, the time to invest in the fourth utility is now.