R&M, the globally active developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, based in Wetzikon, Switzerland, is taking a look into the future of building automation. And it all starts with cabling! R&M provides details in the latest issue of its magazine CONNECTIONS No. 55.

Today, buildings are full of sensors, networks, electronics and controls. Different transmission technologies connect the individual building technology systems. The vision of intelligent, digitalized buildings is virtually impossible to realize with the diversity that has developed over time. "It would be fantastic if building system networking could be consolidated. This is why over recent years there has been more and more focus on the idea of communicating using a single protocol," explains Matthias Gerber, Market Manager LAN Cabling at R&M. The building systems would be able to exchange information more easily over the local data network (LAN) on the basis of the standardized Internet Protocol (IP) and affordable Ethernet network technology. Operating expenses in buildings can be reduced by up to 40 percent with Ethernet/IP. This is why R&M is convinced that the key to smart buildings is LAN cabling. 

The cabling technology for local data networks is currently taking massive evolutionary steps which are also going to help when it comes to smart buildings. R&M reports on the developments with Power over Ethernet (PoE). It can be used to supply building technology components with electricity over the data network. Electric cabling would become superfluous in many cases. A further evolution that will soon be penetrating the market is Single Pair Ethernet (SPE). SPE can expand local data networks into the furthest corners of a building. It could integrate four times as many end devices into a LAN as was previously the case. 

The international expansion of FO networks is a further focal point of the magazine. R&M reports on a generational change in the Swisscom distribution centers. The Swiss network operator has opted for the ODF platform from the R&Mfoxs range. This means Swisscom can reduce the running costs per port and expand the fiber distribution hub units more flexibly than before. 

Two R&M customers report on their experiences with the R&M FO platform SYNO: the multinational network operators GTT and Etisalat. The assembly-friendly distributor helps GTT Benelux to drastically reduce the time involved in installing and maintaining network nodes. Using the SYNO Dome Closure, Etisalat can put the FO fiber distribution hub units in the Middle East under ground. This reduces the costs of construction and maintenance work and eliminates the possibility of tampering as well as the accidental cutting of cables. 

Further articles focus on current technology issues such as 400 Gigabit Ethernet, 5G services and edge computing. Guest author Dr. Lars Jaeger, a well-known Swiss financial theorist, takes a look at fears of the future that have come about because of technology. His recommendations: honest politics and a democratic commitment from each and every one of us to shape the future of society.