Smart Building

Network Infrastructure & Bringing AV to Life

Bob Ferguson

AV isn’t just about a lot more than delivering images to screens or automating sights and sounds.


Today, AV is all about communication, collaboration, scheduling and resource management and smart buildings serve as the landscape for these AV advancements.


As systems inside a smart building are integrated to work together, AV sits at the heart of it all. Fully integrating AV into smart buildings not only automates processes and systems, but also allows for the collection and sharing of data to allow for even more automation and responsive building systems.


This data provides actionable information building systems can use to efficiently operate without human intervention—and that building operators and occupants can also use to make smarter decisions. The more data your building collects, analyzes and acts on, the safer and more efficient your building, along with those inside it. 


AV inside a smart building adapts automatically as the needs of those inside change—whether they’re employees, students, patients or guests. Today's smart buildings make life easier for everyone and is constantly changing. There is a key component in bringing AV potential to life and that is network infrastructure (the cabling and connectivity capable of managing system demands). 


It's not AV technology that makes a smart building “smart". That intelligence is possible because of the cabling and connectivity that enables 24/7 connectivity, bandwidth to support growing numbers of users and devices and efficient data transfer between technology systems. Without such an infrastructure to reliably connect devices to the network, they offer no special features or functionality.


As AV systems are deployed in smart buildings, new demands are being placed on network infrastructure including: 

  • More IoT devices connecting to the network (from displays to sound-masking systems & speakers) driving increased bandwidth requirements
  • Power delivery through a data cable via Power over Ethernet (PoE) allowing devices to be deployed at any location & well away from electrical outlets.
  • Proliferating wireless connections as people & devices are increasingly untethered leading to greater more wireless access points.
  • More AV signals being transmitted & distributed.

A smart building must evolve and keep pace with technology without requiring costly and time-consuming infrastructure adjustments. 


In recent years, twisted-pair cabling has become the go-to standard for applications such as audio and video distribution. As quality and bandwidth requirements increase—distances between sources and displays grow—fiber infrastructure is beginning to be used more for commercial-grade AV applications.


Making the right choices when it comes to cabling and connectivity can make or break AV applications however, in most cases there is no one clear-cut answer to questions like:

  • Do I use fiber or copper cabling for my installation?
  • Which termination method should be used to connect devices to the network?
  • When should singlemode vs multimode fiber be used in an AV system implementation?
  • How far can AV signals be transmitted through the cabling system? 

The answers depend on several factors. If you’re not sure what you need, consult an expert. Belden Smart Building experts have the knowledge and experience to deliver long-term scalable solutions, no matter what type of AV applications are supported.