Demands for greater bandwidth and higher data rates will require network upgrades that implement both new technologies and technical standards. As a result, network designers face more challenges when upgrading infrastructure to attain the benefits of increased availability, speed, and flexibility.

Network upgrades implementing advanced Wi-Fi, PoE (Power over Ethernet), SDN (software-defined networking), and 5G may require upgrades to existing IT equipment and infrastructure. Fortunately, products utilizing these new technologies typically allow compliant deployments that aren’t difficult.

Advanced Wi-Fi

Wireless data transfer rates have grown dramatically in the past 10 years and will continue to do so with the pending introduction of IEEE 802.11ax, an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard.

IEEE 802.11ax will result in the higher efficiency of WLANs (wireless local area networks) within dense environments by letting WAPs (wireless access points) support a greater number of devices while providing speedier connections that can support AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality), 4K/8K UHD video streaming, and the exploding growth of IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

WAPs of IEEE 802.11ax standard will probably need 10 Gbps network connections and greater than 30 Watts. Thus, upgrades to Cat6a or greater cabling that can support both may be required.

Enhanced Power over Ethernet (PoE++): 802.3bt

Introduced in 2003, PoE (Power over Ethernet) defined the delivery of power via network connections to end devices, which eliminated the requirement of separate power connections.

Existing IEEE 802.3-compliant PoE provides a maximum of 25.5 Watts of electrical power to common equipment, including VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones, WAPs, and static security cameras.

The emerging IEEE 802.3bt-2018 standard will provide two more power ranges, 60 Watts and 100 Watts per connection, expanding the potential of powering end devices like higher bandwidth WAPs, security cameras with pan-tilt-zoom capability, and IoT sensors and access control systems.

POE++ delivery will need upgrades to power injectors or network switches, requiring several cables in smaller cable bundles with increased spacing between bundles for greater airflow and the prevention of overheating.

Part 2 will discuss SD-WAN, 5G, and New Approaches to Cable Management.

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