AC over Ethernet

Systimax offer a twist on converged networking, with a bid to popularise putting service traffic such as command information for air conditioning units and heaters, over Ethernet cabling.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  June 16, 2004

Systimax has ramped up its efforts in the region to promote the uptake of service traffic on to the existing data network. The company is keen to encourage the idea of cabling as a fourth utility after water, electricity, heating / air conditioning. Currently horizontal service traffic in office buildings most commonly runs on R485 cabling. This connects most typically into an Ethernet backbone, which links the controllers, which give instructions to air conditioning, lighting, heating and CCTV devices located throughout a building. Systimax is urging companies not to replace the often aging R485 infrastructure with more of the same but to converge the service traffic on to the existing office Ethernet cabling. “The converged approach brings many benefits, such as the greater simplicity that one network brings. Having fewer cables laid in the building means lower maintenance costs and lends a tidier design to buildings,” says Dr TC Tan, distinguished member of technical staff, Systimax Labs. “Furthermore, having CCTV traffic over Ethernet brings greater storage benefits, as you can store footage digitally using network resources, rather than relying on tapes with analogue video.” The approach also has a potential downside. If the ethernet network is brought down by a virus attack, this means that air conditioning, heating, CCTV and so on could also be disrupted.

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