MS (Distribution) UK Ltd.
Baltic Place is a prestigious development of Grade A office space comprising 131,000 sq ft over fourteen floors, between two towers. The development is at the heart of the regeneration of the south shore area, Gateshead and is aimed at attracting international and Blue Chip business to the region.
As a collaboration between Gateshead Council and Alcatel Lucent, the area is served by a dedicated fibre optic network called G-ti currently delivering up to 10GB/s connectivity and is scalable to up to 40Gb/s.
Although Baltic Place is connected into G-ti with several tenants served already, the connection terminates in the ground floor comms room, resulting in dedicated fibre cable needing to be run to any one of the fourteen floors if a client requires a connection. With each floor being able to be sub divided, there is the potential for many tens of clients in the building with the duplication of many fibre optic cables needing installed, removed and changed over time.
As multi-tenant buildings reach capacity, the problem of managing communications infrastructure can become onerous and costly with cable capacity in risers becoming sparse. The cost to tenants can also be high, with work to run new cables being time consuming and having to be carried out after hours.
A future proof solution has now been installed in an investment made by Sitenett. A network of tubes, called microducts, have been installed, passing every floor. If a client wants a fibre connection between the G-ti hub and their office, it is simply a matter of cutting into one of the tube bundles installed in the risers, separating off a tube and extending it to required location on the tenants floor. Compressed air is then used to blow fibre optic cable through the microduct.
Blown fibre was developed by BT in the 1980s and has been widely deployed in their national fibre network. The technology was licenced for the use by third parties a few years ago and as fibre optic connections are becoming more widespread, blown fibre and microduct installations are now a practical, simple solution in terms of flexibility and cost.
Sitenett have previously invested in blown fibre capability for outdoor Fibre to the Premises installations in business parks and rural areas, but are now quickly bringing the same benefits to large buildings and facilities.
'Before, to connect a tenant in Baltic to G-ti, it was a two man job on a nightshift. Now a single engineer can simply divert a tube from the main cable in the riser to a customer’s cabinet and then, from the buildings comms room, blow a fibre unit straight through, even during office hours. This will save Baltic tenants time and money when connecting to G-ti.' - Mike Johnston, Sitenett.
The new state of the art system is inherently flexible, also allowing any two locations in Baltic Place to be connected directly with fibre, by simply diverting and connecting microduct. A microduct tube bundle can contain up to 24 tubes, each containing a client’s fibre.
'There are six main different types of fibre that are in mainstream use. Each tube can contain a different type of fibre in capacities of up to 12 fibres per tube. The possibilities are endless and this new infrastructure will make it cheaper and easier for tenants to connect to G-ti, also benefiting G-ti and it's Communication Provider partners.' - Roger Maule, Sitenett
The microducts are of great benefit to Robertson Property who own the building. Not only is there a 21st century fibre infrastructure serving the property, which makes Baltic place an attractive option to potential clients, but also the fact that the system is completely saleable, without being detrimental to the building fabric. Each riser has what looks like a single white cable that contains the tubes. This has the capacity to serve every floor with fibre rather than a birds nest of cables.
Sitenett is a MS (Distribution) UK Ltd. company