Surveillance systems are becoming more prevalent in buildings, especially governmental, banking, or other buildings that are considered possible security risks. While coax connections are common in short links and structured cabling advocates say you can run cameras limited distances on Cat 5E or Cat 6 UPT like computer networks, fiber has become a much more common choice. Besides offering greater flexibility in camera placement because of its distance capability, fiber optic cabling is much smaller and lightweight, allowing easier installation, especially in older facilities like airports or large buildings that may have available spaces already filled with many generations of copper cabling.
Premises cable systems are designed to carry computer networks based on Ethernet which currently may operate at speeds from 10 megabits per second to 10 gigabits per second. Other systems may carry security systems with digital or analog video, perimeter alarms or entry systems, which are usually low speeds, at least as far as fiber is concerned. Premises telephone systems can be carried on traditional twisted pair cables or, as is becoming more common, utilize LAN cabling with voice over IP (VoIP) technology.
The desire for mobility, along with the expansion of connected services, appears to lead to a new type of corporate network. Fiber optic backbone with copper to the desktop where people want direct connections and multiple wireless access points, more than is common in the past, for full coverage and maintaining a reasonable number of users per access point is the new norm for corporate networks.
Direct buried cable is placed underground without conduit. Here the cable must be designed to withstand the rigors of being buried in dirt, so it is generally a more rugged cable, armored to prevent harm from rodent chewing or the pressures of dirt and rocks in which it is buried. Direct burial is generally limited to areas where the ground is mostly soil with few rocks down to the depth required so trenching or plowing in cable is easily accomplished. Splices on direct buried cables can be stored above ground in a pedestal or buried underground. Sufficient excess cable is needed to allow splicing in a controlled environment, usually a splicing trailer, and the storage of excess cable must be considered.
The choice of outside plant fiber optic (OSP) components begins with developing the route the cable plant will follow. Once the route is set, one knows where cables will be run, where splices are located and where the cables will be terminated. All that determines what choices must be made on cable type, hardware and sometimes installation methodology.
Premises and campus installations can be simpler since the physical area involved is smaller and the options fewer. Start with a good set of architectural drawings and, if possible, contact the architect, contractor and/or building manager. Having access to them means you have someone to ask for information and advice. Hopefully the drawings are available as CAD files so you can have a copy to do the network cabling design in your computer, which makes tweaking and documenting the design so much easier.
Having decided to use fiber optics and chosen equipment appropriate for the application, it's time to determine exactly where the cable plant and hardware will be located. One thing to remember - every installation will be unique. The actual placement of the cable plant will be determined by the physical locations along the route, local building codes or laws and other individuals involved in the designs. As usual, premises and outside plant installations are different so we will consider them separately.
Choosing transmission equipment is the next step in designing a fiber optic network. This step will usually be a cooperative venture involving the customer, who knows what kinds of data they need to communicate, the designer and installer, and the manufacturers of transmission equipment. Transmission equipment and the cable plant are tightly interrelated. The distance and bandwidth will help determine the fiber type necessary and that will dictate the optical interfaces on the cable plant. The ease of choosing equipment may depend on the type of communications equipment needed.
Many documents relating to cable plant design focus on industry standards for both communications systems and cable plants. US standards come from the TIA or Telcordia while worldwide standards may come from ISO/IEC or ITU.
Most building management systems use proprietary copper cabling, for example thermostat wiring and paging/audio speaker systems. Security monitoring and entry systems, certainly the lower cost ones, still depend on coax copper cable, although high security facilities like government and military installations often pay the additional cost for fiber's more secure nature.