What is a converged network?
In simple terms a converged network is one where the data, video and telephone (voice) communication are grouped into a single network.
All of the services run over one set of infrastructure (switches and cabling), and the network is usually designed and managed by one company.
What services and applications could sit on a converged network?
- HSIA – (high speed internet access) for residents
- IPTV – television services
- VoIP – Voice over IP telephony services for residents and staff
- Access control and door locking systems
- Building Management Systems
- Property Management Systems
- Point of Sale
- Digital Signage
In broad terms if the service or application is IP based, ie a packet on a network, then it can normally be part of a converged network.
What are the advantages of a converged network?
Better performance; Reduced cost; More flexibility; Minimising environmental impact
- Lower cost of installation: installing one core infrastructure can reduce the amount of cabling required, and ensure that switches are used in the most efficient way. We have seen cost reductions of around 30% moving from a traditional network architecture to converged.
- Better network management: a high-performing network is critical for the smooth operation of all the services within your building and having a converged network allows you to choose a single operator to oversee these services, and so offer a better level of service to your residents and team. In the past you may have multiple different networks all managed by different vendors, meaning different SLA’s, help desks, operating hours etc. A converged network has one management platform which can allow better monitoring and allow issues to be identified and dealt with much more quickly.
- Flexibility and future proofing: Having an enterprise grade active network means adding new or extra services and applications can be completed much more easily and potentially without having to add new cabling or hardware. It’s impossible to say any technology is ‘future-proof’ however the 10Gb standard is currently recommended and fully suited for most needs.
- Better design and hardware: with all services running through one core infrastructure it often proves more cost-effective to increase the sophistication, capacity and performance of this core to levels that would not be commercially sensible if running multiple networks. We typically see a move from multiple 1Gb in a traditional environment to 10Gb in a converged, offering potentially a huge uplift in performance. This will normally include resiliency and redundancy to a much higher level.
- Minimising environmental impact: a single connection manages and operates all the systems, meaning reduced power usage and carbon footprint. Less hardware takes up less space and ensures the right amount of switch ports are available, in the right locations. Monitoring network ports, cables, connectors and components in real time with an intelligent infrastructure management system allows the network to be managed far more efficiently and optimises energy consumption.
Are there other considerations?
Many, and this is where the design and management skills of Curve IT are paramount. These are just a few of the many considerations you will need to take into account.
- Resiliency – how to deal with power failures. We can advise on UPS or generator back-up power.
- Network resiliency – spanning tree? What support packs on hardware?
- Redundancy – internet services into and out of the building and the routes these could take. Do you need geo-diverse routings? How many 9’s in your SLA?
- Bandwidth management (WAN) – what do you need and when do you need it? What is the best model? Who is the best provider and do they have the interconnects you need?
- Bandwidth management (LAN) – what applications do your residents / team need? Should some be limited? Do you want a revenue stream?
- QoS – how, where and when?
- VLANs – who and how to manage?
- PAN – do your residents need a Personal Area Network?
If this seems daunting feel free to Contact the team at Curve IT on email@example.com or 01273 806220