Structured Wiring Advantages
A 21st century home includes an infrastructure to support the growing technological and communications revolution that's migrating to the residential market.
That infrastructure, called structured wiring, can efficiently run and integrate complex entertainment electronics, computer networks, security systems and total home automation controls.
New-home builders that install structured wiring not only provide themselves with a powerful marketing tool — adding a valuable amenity to help convince wavering homebuyers — but they are also adding another substantive profit center to their business.
Here are four reasons structured wiring can future-proof home sales for builders.
Make the "Smart Home" Decision
People are familiar with the explosion of digital content (music, photos, movies, etc.) driving the need for home servers and faster connections for content creation, streaming and backup. Applications like voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) and gaming require low latencies (the time it takes for round-trip communication) and data integrity that only an adequately wired system can offer.
In the near future, fully automated homes, with totally integrated and interactive systems will no longer be a high-priced luxury. These "smart homes" will, for instance, be able to automatically control all of its lighting, from bedroom to basement, or monitor and precisely allocate its total energy usage or run a complete security alarm and surveillance system 24/7.
Homeowners without the proper infrastructure will be left behind or faced with expensive retrofit costs when these technologies become mainstream.
Investing in the Future
New technologies will depend on a wiring system infrastructure or "backbone" that can handle the immense amount (and speed) of data that is transmitted. The critical test of that system will be how much bandwidth it can offer the user.
Think of bandwidth as the size of the diameter of a pipe that brings in and sends out data. The bigger the "pipe," the greater the amount and faster the travel time of data. There is a huge difference, for example, in the bandwidth required for "streaming" the latest Hollywood movie and merely surfing the Web for a pasta recipe.
Builders must remember that wiring systems are not to be installed just to satisfy present needs and communication requirements. A true 21st century home must be "future-proofed" — that is, installed with the capacity, or open-ended wired architecture, to deal with communications devices and systems not dreamed of today.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) strongly recommends wiring single-family and multi-occupant dwellings with appropriate cabling to safely and securely handle new technologies. This advice, detailed in the TIA’s TIA-570-B residential and light commercial telecommunications wiring standard, calls for Enhanced Category 5 (Cat-5e) cabling as a minimum and Category 6 as the recommended UTP cabling for voice and data.
Adds Value, Increases Marketability
The lesson to be learned now — before it's too late — is that the right infrastructure needs to be in place to accommodate the latest technologies and changing lifestyles.
Without a technology-ready infrastructure, the overall value and attractiveness of a new home will suffer, especially compared to those homes that are future-proofed. Moreover, the re-sale potential of future-proofed homes will be perceived by a modern home buyer as being more valuable than "plain old" homes.
The Wireless Compliment
A common error made by many builders (and contractors) is thinking a wireless communications system is just as good as a wired system or that a wireless system is more advanced.
Thinking wireless is the preferred or “coolest” solution, however, could result in some unsatisfactory outcomes. For example, wireless is quite susceptible to interference and loss of signal (as everyone who owns a cell phone knows) and will not be able to handle the new era of communications complexity.
Above all, wireless signals, because they travel through the air and not via a hard wire, have weaker security safeguards. It is possible to pick up a signal from a neighbor's Internet connection if you happen to be in the right location. Conversely, a wired system doesn't need encryption, but is nevertheless more secure than the wireless alternative.
Wireless systems do indeed have a place in the "intelligent home." They will continue to play a necessary and important role, but a role that complements structured wiring