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Four Keys to Putting Tomorrow’s Technology in Yesterday’s Buildings

Network Planning
Hunderdon Central’s success resulted from designing the network first, taking advantage of good, professional consulting advice. “Don’t rely on salespeople,” Pare says. “Get someone who sells his brains, not hardware.” Construction implications include special technology support spaces, distribution pathways for telecommunications cable, properly located telecommunications outlets, an adequate supply of electrical power and appropriate lighting of spaces in which the technology components will be used. All should be carefully planned before any installation begins.

Fiber optic cable has the highest band-width and is probably the preferable network medium of the foreseeable future. Pare suggests pulling both fiber optic and Category 5 unshielded twist pair (UTP) copper wire together. “Installing both fiber and copper now provides a long-term solution,” he says, “and it is also less expensive than providing empty conduit for future network wiring.”

Michael David Leiboff, principal at Shen Milsom & Wilke, New York-based consultants in acoustics, audiovisual and telecommunications systems, says a properly designed and installed media “backbone” can serve the needs of a school district for a long time. He says that the “interconnecting devices necessary to marry computers, hubs, routers, servers, television sets and more to the fiber” are costly and have limited use in many educational applications.

“Current technology allows Category 5 media to support applications once through only appropriate for fiber,” says Leiboff. UTP Category 5 should easily support present and future bandwidth requirements, he says.