Wahsega Labs PA System Cuts Large Installation Wiring Costs
K-12 IT Managers have to be creative to get past ever-present budget constraints. Priority is “most bang for your buck”. To do that, they have to look carefully at all aspects of their operating environment and find savings where they can. Many times, the best ideas come from places that are hidden in plain sight. Something that is so obvious, people assume it has already been done. In a planning session at Wahsega Labs, designers found just such a hidden jewel for saving on installation costs. They broke down an entire installation process for networked devices across a large facility. There, they found an elegant solution to a large line item on IT budgets.
In turns out that wiring a building costs a lot. In fact, on average, it costs about $200 to run an ethernet cable from the cabinet to a classroom. To minimize running multiple cables, some IT departments ran a single line to an area near the coverage area and installed an intermediate smaller switch or hub. Fine, but now there were multiple dumb switches to account for and run power to. Intermediate PoE switches? Too costly and plagued with power budget problems. On top of everything, it complicated troubleshooting in the event of an outage. What to do?
Think about the end goal. Let’s start with two classrooms. In this case, we want two networked communication devices, one per classroom. We want to avoid running two PoE (power over ethernet) cables to save money on installation. The engineers at Wahsega Labs thought, “What if we use one of the devices as a PoE repeater? Then, we can power the other device by just running a short Cat 5 or 6 cable through the ceiling? Now, we’ve got networking and power on the second device without running another wire from the closet.” And that’s what they did.
Earlier this week, we wrote about Wahsega’s plans to help make K-12 school IT operations more efficient. The lynch pin in that strategy is the 2X2 IP Ceiling Speaker with Informacast®. Wahsega designers built this PoE extension idea into the 2X2, creating instant savings to schools, hospitals and office buildings who use them. Let’s go back to our classroom example. For two adjacent classrooms, each gets a Wahsega 2X2. Since the device is a 10/100 fast ethernet product, it can be attached to a more economical PoE switch. The classroom nearest the networking closet gets a Cat5e cable run to it. Then, to connect the other classroom, you just run a connector Cat5e cable from the second speaker port in classroom one to the PoE port on the speaker in classroom two. You just effectively cut you wiring costs almost in half.
Another benefit is that both units can be registered on both SIP and Informacast systems at the same time and each unit acts independently of the other. Configuration for both units is done through a simple web interface you access via the IP of each speaker. Each unit receives its IP address via DHCP when it registers.
There has never been greater need for efficient school IT operations. The “Power Handoff” method for cutting cabling costs reduces time to launch. Simplified configuration and flexible endpoint registration reduces the amount of time staff needs to maintain or execute change orders. The reduced installation costs (up to 45% less than running two cables) cuts the time it takes to achieve return on investment. Taken together, this is a huge opportunity for schools and hospitals to save big on products that are built to last a long time.