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NEW YORK CITY-Technology industry guest speakers at NACORE International’s chapter meeting luncheon at the Harvard Club on West 44th Street Friday afternoon all agreed that building infrastructures have a direct correlation with the level of efficiency a company can achieve in its operations. Technology spokespeople for Gillette Global Network/Eureka Broadband, Costar Group and Cablevision/Lightpath all argued that most office buildings today, even here in Manhattan, are using copper wiring, the capabilities of which have been exhausted. LAN’s are also operating on slow and inefficient Ethernets they contend.

“The painful reality is that when we go in to buildings, we find firms are still averaging speeds of under 56k,” reported Steve Coutts, regional vice president for Costar. “For those companies that could benefit from applications, such as those delivered over the Internet, they can’t because of limited speeds possible with the infrastructures of the buildings they’re in.” He argued that without improvements, many companies are unable bring greater efficiency, cut costs and streamline processes solely because of the lack of capabilities of the building in which they lease space.

A spokesperson for GGN/Eureka, filling in for scheduled speaker Eureka chairman and CEO Jeffrey Ginsberg, stated the industry is now working to get their customer base on current Ethernet technology. Today’s technology requirements, he said, require gigabit Ethernet. He also noted that current demands have exhausted the capabilities of copper wiring, and GGN/Eureka only uses fiber, allowing greater speed and volume of data to be transmitted.

He discussed the progression of technology and said that in 1996 the big innovation then was information pulses of light moving down a stream—multiplexing. Today the trend is toward Lucent all wave moving through fiber. He said the future is for everyone to have 10 gigabits per second per wavelength.

“Copper is a 20th century phenomenon. Fiber is a 21st phenomenon,” he noted. He explained that bandwidth is “just a big pipe” and that the goal is to bring about the convergence of all the different technologies operating into one protocol. “Many predict IP will be the protocol that creates that convergence.” He also noted “the greatest telecommunications demands in the world are in New York.”

In order to bring fiber into buildings, providers like GGN/Eureka and Lightpath must tap into the junctions of their existing lines underground and lay piping from it to the building, carrying their wiring system. The cables are wrapped in rubber and are themselves glass, so the relatively inexpensive splicing done with copper wiring is impossible in this scenario. Lightpath’s spokesperson, filling in for scheduled speaker vice president Kevin Curran, cited his own company, saying it costs $150,000 in construction just to go from one of their fiber lines on Third or Eighth Avenues into a building. The expense of fiber has been a prohibitive factor in its adoption up to the present, but these industry representatives argue that the commercial real estate world can no longer afford to delay in emerging into the latest and best means of accessing the Internet and operating current software systems.

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