What are my alternatives to installing Cat 5 cabling in my premises?


Recently a client who owned a building with 30 serviced apartments contacted Premitel to ask about providing each apartment with internet connectivity.

The problem was that the client wanted to avoid, if possible, the expense and disruption of installing a Cat 5 structured cabling system in an old building with endpoints in each guest room.

Wireless was the obvious answer, but even that presented a challenge and would incur significant expense because the apartments are on 4 floors and the walls are quite thick.

Fortunately, there was an existing phone system that had phone extensions in each room. This meant that we had the option of providing an ethernet connection to each room using a device known as a DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Module).

DSLAMs are more commonly used in telephone exchanges to enable broadband internet to be delivered to homes and businesses using existing telephone cabling.

We used a Zyxel mini-DSLAM that was designed to provide internet connectivity in tenanted premises for up to 48 endpoints using existing telephone cabling.

We installed the mini-DSLAM next to the existing cable distribution box for the phone system with the existing cabling being re-routed to the phone system via the DSLAM.

The DSLAM had an integrated network switch which was in turn connected to a standard broadband router to provide the internet connectivity.

In each room we provided a DSL filter which plugged into the existing phone socket and enabled connection of the existing telephone instrument and a DSL modem to the existing phone cable.

The DSL modem provided an ethernet output to which was connected to an access point that provided both wireless and wired internet connectivity in each guest room.

This solution was ideal for our client as there was little disruption to the business as all the installation work was done in the comms room with the changeover being done over night.

It also had the advantage of being a very cost-effective solution compared with the labour cost of installing new cabling in an old building that was in constant use.

When considering deploying a DSLAM it is important to note that the connection speeds that can be supported by DSLAMs are significantly lower than can be achieved over Cat 5 ethernet cabling (eg less than 30Mbps). However, this is usually not an issue if it is only internet access that is required.

Get in touch with Premitel if you have a specific requirement or if you wish to discuss how your business could make better and more cost-effective use of its existing telecommunications and internet infrastructure and services.