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ConvergeIT™ Technical Solutions Guide

A Converged, IP-based Intelligent Building Cabling System Using a Simplified Structured Cabling Infrastructure for a Smarter, Greener Building

Converged, IP-based Intelligent Building Cabling System

What capabilities can turn your structured cabling system into a critical building asset; one that reduces costs, simplifies application deployment, enhances the workplace experience, and maximizes the potential to qualify for all physical layer and audiovisual innovation technology credits proposed by BICSI's Green Building Technology Alliance?

Imagine these scenarios:

  1. An employee enters a building with a badge - his work space is illuminated, network access is provided, HVAC adjustments are made, and nighttime power conservation methods are disabled
  2. A motion detector is tripped in a secure area - cameras zoom in on the location of the security breach, video feeds are transmitted to multiple locations, audio communication is enabled, operation of classified applications is suspended, and SMS text, e-mail, and IP phone announcements are forwarded to security personnel
  3. A fire alarm is activated - emergency lighting and pathway guidance systems are activated, doors to exit paths are unlocked, video and audio feeds are enabled, emergency shutdowns of critical systems are initiated, and status and containment information is forwarded to rescue personnel
  4. A training center requires new audio/video services - the upgrade is made by means of a modular RJ-45 style plug and jack connection to the building's structured zone cabling system and no new cabling needs to be deployed
  5. New patient monitoring services must be added to hospital rooms with limited pathway space - 10/100BASE-T is deployed over the unused pairs of a TERA™ category 7A channel, no new cabling needs to be pulled, and less space is consumed by the category 7A channel than by multiple category 5e channels

The ANSI/TIA/EIA-862¹ and ISO 16484² series building automation systems standards raised the industry's awareness of the capabilities of structured cabling by specifying planning requirements for the support of low-voltage, non-telecommunications applications, such as fire alarm, security, audio/video (A/V), and energy management, using modular RJ-45 style connectivity and twisted-pair cabling. Draft standards, such as those under development by the IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) task force, go even further by specifying protocols that ensure high quality audio and video streaming over Ethernet. The advantages of AVB technology include potentially lower equipment costs, ease-ofinstallation, and the ability to network applications that traditionally operated on widely varying and non-compatible platforms. As would be expected, network equipment manufacturers, such as Broadcom, are rushing to implement the IEEE 802.1 technology in their Ethernet switches, end-point devices, physical layer devices (PHYs), and software.

In order to be a true building asset, today's cabling systems must integrate a wide range of emerging and future low-voltage building needs, while ensuring optimum quality of service and minimal disruptions, in an efficient and non-wasteful manner. ConvergeIT provides the following secure, scaleable, and flexible benefits in the enterprise environment:

Robust and flexible technology: ConvergeIT features Siemon's entire family of 20-year warranty-backed cabling solutions and eliminates the need for proprietary cabling and connectivity. Category 5e, 6, and 6A UTP and F/UTP and category 7A S/FTP media support delivery of all low-voltage building automation and A/V applications, including those supported by PoE (Power over Ethernet) and PoE Plus. Multimode and singlemode optical fiber solutions may be deployed as part of a ConvergeIT solution if prior consideration is given to the need to power low-voltage devices.

True network management: ConvergeIT supports low-voltage building automation and A/V systems being linked to the data network resulting in simplified infrastructure management and reduced complexity. This also provides a migration path for IP-enabled devices that can be monitored, accessed, and managed by IT administrators. Device management facilitates initiatives to minimize energy waste (e.g. automatic lighting and HVAC control) and capabilities that can enhance building security and emergency response time (e.g. motion and audio detection).

intelligent building

Asset control: Converging multiple applications over one integrated cabling system enables real-time control of assets and information; a critical component of regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), the Real ID Act, the Homeland Security Presidential Directive, ISO 17799 code of information security, and the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) for information technology management.

Rapid deployment and reduced labor costs: It is a fact that significant costs and time are associated with using multiple contractors to deploy separate low-voltage cable runs. ConvergeIT reduces labor costs, construction time, and installation expenses because one structured cabling provider installs and services all low-voltage, voice, and data applications. MAC (moves, adds, and changes) work is significantly simplified and the redundancy associated with separate pathways is eliminated. In addition, the low-voltage cabling, which was traditionally left unmanaged after the installation, is now part of the administered network infrastructure.

Reduced number of unused pairs: Since many low-voltage applications operate over just one (e.g. CATV or CCTV) or two (e.g. a PoE-enabled camera) pairs, there is a potential for substantial waste in the form of unused pairs when converged networks are deployed. ConvergeIT eliminates this waste by supporting cable sharing; a strategy whereby multiple low-speed, high-density applications are deployed over one TERA category 7A/class FA channel. This standards-approved strategy can free-up valuable pathway space, provide cost savings, and may be leveraged along with other practices that reduce material and energy waste for green performance credits.

Supports green building initiatives: Strategies that decrease labor and deployment times, optimize material utilization, and maximize energy efficiency are key factors in designing sustainable buildings and obtaining "green" building certification, The Green Building Technology Alliance (GBTA), established by BICSI to develop innovation technology credits for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification system, is in the process of developing two to three innovation technology credits specifically related to structured cabling infrastructure. The current proposal is one credit for physical layer technology and another one or two credits for audiovisual deployment. ConvergeIT supports all areas of structured cabling infrastructure efficiency (e.g. reduced labor and rapid deployment provided by one contractor, support of cable sharing strategies to reduce the number of unused pairs in an installation, intelligent HVAC control, and delivery of every audiovisual application) and maximizes the potential to qualify for all innovation technology credits proposed by the GBTA.


Due to the high variability in the number and type of low-voltage applications found in different end-user environments, it may be difficult to approximate the number of cabling drops required to support a ConvergeIT network. For planning purposes, table 1 provides an approximation of the coverage area provided by one 4-pair ConvergeIT channel in a variety of environments. Remember that these coverage areas are typical (based upon studies evaluated by the TIA TR-42.1 Commercial Building Cabling subcommittee) and do not include the two (2) telecommunications outlets that should be provided in each work area.

diagram - convergence in building networks
1 Voice & Data
Voice and Data
  • Networked computers and servers
  • Analog and VoIP phones
  • PBX and Fax
2 A/V (Audio & Video)
  • CATV (lengths may be less than 100 meters if amplifiers are not used)
  • HDMI, VGA, SVHS, and composite/component audio and video
  • Satellite video signals
  • IPTV
  • Off-air or in-house video
  • In-house broadcast systems, overhead paging, and intercoms
  • flat panel LCD computer displays and digital projectors (DVI)

3 Wireless Devices
Wireless Devices
  • LAN's
  • Scanners and readers (including RFID)
4 Building Automation (BAS) HVAC - HVAC (sensors actuators, control panels, etc.)
 Building Automation (BAS) HVAC - HVAC
  • Access control (card and biometric readers)
  • Lighting (sensors, control panels, dimmers, switches, etc.)
  • Fire alarm systems (detectors, pull stations, control panels, enunciators, etc.)
  • Time & attendance
  • Emergency lighting and pathway guidance

5 Security
  • CCTV (analog and IP-based) camera and monitors
  • Pan, tilt, zoom and remote powered devices
  • Motion detectors
  • Glass-break and audio detectors
6 Manufacturing
  • Air handlers and ventilation equipment
  • Oxygen, carbon monoxide, and other gas sensors
  • Temperature and humidity sensors
  • Infrared sensors

7 Other Low Voltage Systems
Other Low Voltage Systems
  • Telemetry
  • Patient monitoring and nurse call
  • Smart blackboard and i-clicker technology in the classroom

Table 1.

Typical ConvergeIT Converge Area

Floor Space Use Coverage Area (m2) Considerations
Classroom 25 Coverage area requirements may be centralized for security and access controls. Plan for theunique low-voltage requirements for each area type (e.g. fire alarm safety system, access control,and HVAC).
Data Center 25 Coverage area requirements may be centralized for security and access controls (e.g. securitycameras and sensors, access control, and HVAC)..
Hotel 25 Coverage area requirements may vary if low-voltage services have centralized control (e.g. HVAC,fire alarm safety system, and access control).
Indoor Parking 50 Identify fire, security, carbon monoxide detection and HVAC requirements. Voice connections may berequired for security.
Manufacturing 50 Coverage area size may vary according to manufacturing processes, environment, and buildingdesign (e.g. gas and temperature sensors, fire alarm safety system, access control, and ventilation).
Mechanical Room 5 Determine location of air handlers, chillers, boilers, pumps, fans, compressors, etc. Air handlers willtypically have a higher concentration of low-voltage devices.
Office 25 Coverage area sizes will typically be greater in an open office environment than in a dedicated officespace. Zone cabling is recommended for open office environments (see page 7).
Retail 25 Security requirements (e.g. CCTV, alarm, and access control) may increase the coverage area density

Cable Sharing

Cable Sharing for building information systems

Figure 1:
Typical ConvergeIT Cable Sharing Implementation

Many applications, such as security cameras, broadcast video, and device control, only transmit over one or two pairs of a 4-pair cable. When UTP or F/UTP copper media is deployed to support these applications, multiple unused pairs can contribute to excessive cable congestion, overfilled pathways, and additional cost. This obstacle can be overcome by utilizing the practice of cable sharing in conjunction with TERA category 7A/class FA cabling. Because of its fully shielded construction, the signals on individual category 7A pairs are fully isolated from each other and multiple applications transmitting on just one or two pairs may be run over a TERA category 7A/class FA channel without concern for interference. In fact, category 7A/class FA media is so robust, that two PoE applications (12.95 W maximum power delivered to the each powered device) can be supported over one TERA channel as long as power is delivered using IEEE 802.3-2005 Alternative A!

In a typical ConvergeIT environment, a wide range of applications such VoIP (voice over IP), CATV, CCTV, Internet, security cameras, and intercom, which only utilize one or two pairs for transmission, may be deployed. Assuming that these exact six services are required for a specific network implementation, providing a dedicated 4-pair cable for each low pair count application would require 6 outlets at the work area or zone box; leaving a total of 16 unused pairs! A more efficient solution would be to implement a cable sharing approach whereby each work area or zone box would support the 6 services over two TERA category 7A/class FA channels. The recommended configuration of the two TERA outlets is shown in Figure 1.

Traditional Cabling Approach

A traditional or "home run" structured ConvergeIT cabling design consists of horizontal cable run from the horizontal cross-connect in the telecommunications room (TR) directly to each equipment or work area outlet. If it is a requirement of the low-voltage application (e.g. RS-232, RS-442, or RS-485 circuits), multipoint bus and ring cabling topologies are also supported. A multipoint bus configuration allows multiple low-voltage devices to be attached to the same horizontal cabling link (in this case, an endpoint termination or impedance matching device is typically used). As its name implies, a ring configuration allows two separate horizontal cabling links to be connected between one or more low-voltage devices. Maximum links lengths are limited to 90 meters (295 feet), independent of media, and the design shall comply with the requirements ANSI/TIA-568-C.1³ , ISO/IEC 118014 , and applicable building automation standards1,2. Figure 2. shows an example traditional cabling topology where LAN cabling and security cameras are home run back to the TR and HVAC device/controller, access control, fire alarm, and lighting control are supported in a multipoint bus configuration.

The benefits of a traditional ConvergeIT structured cabling design include:

  • Ease of deployment in small offices and spaces
  • Simple to label and administer
  • Abandoned cable can be quickly identified
Cable Sharing with Category 7A TERA

Figure 2:
ConvergeIT Cable Solution Traditional Cabling Topology

Zone Cabling Approach

A zoned structured ConvergeIT cabling design consists of horizontal cables run from the horizontal cross-connect in the telecommunications room (TR) to zone boxes serving as consolidation points (CPs). Zone boxes may be located in a raised floor, in the ceiling (consideration should be given to plenum requirements), within furniture, or mounted on a wall. Cables are then patched from the zone box to the equipment and work area outlets. As with traditional topologies, multipoint bus and ring cabling configurations are supported if required by the application. Maximum link lengths and design requirements are also consistent with traditional cabling topologies. Figure 3 shows an example zoned cabling topology where horizontal cables are run from the TR to zone boxes and then patched to equipment/work area outlets supporting LAN, HVAC control, access control, fire alarm, security cameras, and lighting control devices.

The benefits of a zoned ConvergeIT structured cabling design include:

  • Ease of deployment in large office and open office spaces
  • Facilitates the use of pre-terminated trunking cables for expedited installation
  • More efficient pathway utilization
  • Ease of adding new services and upgrading to IP-addressable devices
  • MAC work costs less and is faster and less disruptive since the cabling from the CP to theTR remains unchanged (cabling is reconfigured from the CP to the work area only; enabling rapid reorganization of floor space).
Cable Sharing

Figure 3:
Example of ConvergeIT Cabling Solution Zoned Cabling Topology

Zone Box Location:

Cable Sharing

Figure 4:
Example of Distributed Zone Box Locations

When deploying a zoned cabling solution, zone boxes should be logically distributed in an open coverage area and should be limited to serving a maximum of 12 equipment or work area outlets. Zone boxes shall be located in fully-accessible, fixed locations such as permanent walls and building columns and shall not be located in obstructed areas. Zone boxes shall not be installed in furniture that is not secured to the building structure.

TIA TSB-1626 and ISO/IEC 247047 offer guidance on locating wireless access points in ceiling spaces that can be applied to zone box positioning. This approach supports all ConvergeIT applications and may be especially convenient for the management of installations where cable sharing is used to support multiple applications operating over TERA category 7A/class FA channels. A pattern of circles or grids with an associated coverage area radius can be defined, as shown in Figure 4, with the intention that equipment and work area outlets should be centrally located in their coverage area and zone boxes should be centrally located in their associated coverage area grid. Although the coverage area radius may range in size from 3 meters to 30 meters, a coverage area radius of 12 meters is generally recommended as an optimum size to accommodate most ConvergeIT networks.


ZU-3 (Zone Unit Enclosure) - User-friendly enclosure designed to house connecting hardware under raised flooring systems.


ZU-MX24-0515 (24 Port MAX Zone Unit Enclosure) - The 24 port MAX zone unit enclosure is designed to safely house Siemon connecting hardware under raised flooring systems.

ZU-2 (Zone Unit Enclusure)

ZU-2 (Zone Unit Enclosure) - User-friendly enclosure designed to house connecting hardware used in open office cabling solutions.

 Vertical consolidation point enclosure

CPEV - Vertical consolidation point enclosure provides comprehensive cable management features in a secure and decorative modular enclosure.


ZU-MZ-48 - A high density solution ideally used with raised floor applications.

Low-Voltage Considerations

Characteristics of Low-Voltage Applications Suitable for Operation overTwisted-Pair Cabling

The maximum current capacity and operating voltage of low-voltage applications supported by ConvergeIT cabling are defined in the ANSI/TIA/EIA-8621 and ISO 164842 series building automation systems standards. A summary of the specified maximum operating conditions is provided in table 2. While there are limited Π provisions in these Standards for operation in wet (but, not immersed) environments, ConvergeIT cabling is suitable for installation in dry environments only. Additional information on the current carrying capacity of bundled cables, including guidance for minimizing temperature rise using higher category and screened and shielded cabling, is described in TIA TSB-1848 , the soon-to-be-published ISO/IEC 291259 , and Siemon's white paper entitled, "IEEE 802.3at PoE Plus Operating Efficiency: How to Keep a Hot Application Running Cool" 10.

Table 2.
Summary of Maximum Current Capacity and Operating Voltage supported by ConvergeIT Cabling

Maximum operating currents and temperatures
ConvergeIT Cabling Maximum Operating Temperature (°C) Maximum Current for a Single Conductor (A) Total Maximum Current for a 4-pair Channel (A)
Category 5e, 6 and 6A UTP and F/UTP 25
Category 7 S/FTP 25
Maximum Operating Voltages for Cabling Installed in Dry Conditions
Maximum Circuit Power: 100 VA
Maximum Current: Specified above
Maximum Permitted
AC Voltage RMS
Maximum Permitted
AC Voltage
Peak-to-Peak (V)
Maximum Permitted
DC Voltage (V)
Maximum Permitted
DC Voltage Peak (V)
(Interrupted at 10 to 200Hz)
30 42.0 60 24.8

Life Safety and Seperation of Services

Low-voltage communications applications shall be separated from other electrical cabling and services in accordance with the latest applicable local and national code requirements and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). In the United States, Article 800 of the National Electrical Code® 11 describes life safety and electrical safety considerations, including separation requirements, for communications cables including voice, audio, video, data, interactive services, and outside wiring for fire and burglar alarms from the communications utility to the customer's communication equipment. Refer to Article 725 of the National Electrical Code® for information on Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 remote control, signaling, and power limited circuits.

Industry Recognition

Here's what leading low-voltage device and network equipment manufacturers are saying about the Siemon ConvergeIT cabling solution:

"Siemon's ConvergeIT greatly improves the efficiency and flexibility of the structured cabling plant, providing a scalable foundation enabling convergence of a building's systems into a common IP network environment. This helps us deliver to our clients the Johnson Controls® Technology ContractingT approach of integrated, intelligent, sustainable buildings that have higher performance and productivity with a lower life cycle cost, including lower energy use."
- Hugh Hudson, Director of Business Development, Johnson Controls

"ConvergeIT harmonizes with Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) Connected Real Estate Practice, which emphasizes the ability to facilitate intercommunication and interaction among buildings and digital infrastructures"
- Kevin O'Donnell, Executive Consultant, Internet Business Solutions Group, Cisco, United Kingdom

The IP-enabled network device market is growing fast. Siemon ConvergeIT networks are ready to support these new and emerging intelligent building technologies.

traditional cabling versus intelligent buildings

Building costs are greatest during the operation phase. Siemon ConvergeIT networks support device management implementations that can significantly improve building energy consumption, security, and emergency response time; thereby reducing operational costs and improving efficiency. In addition, ConvergeIT zoned cabling solutions positively impact overall cost and green performance by facilitating rapid deployment in large coverage areas, efficient pathways utilization, ease of system upgrades, adds, moves, and changes, and rapid reorganization of floor space.

50% of building costs incurred are during the operation phase."

"Because operational costs account for nearly 50% of a building's TCO over an estimated 40-year life span, any means of reducing that cost has a consideration impact, By comparison, construction costs only account for 11 percent of TCO."

In a typical converged network environment, a wide range of applications (e.g.VoIP, CATV, CCTV, Internet, security cameras, automation control systems, and intercom) are deployed that utilize only one or two pairs for transmission. The benefits delivered by a ConvergeIT system, featuring cable sharing and TERA category 7A/class FA cabling include:

  • Total number of unused pairs is reduced by up to 70%,
  • Less materials and waste resulting in a more environmentally-conscious installation,
  • Maximum potential to qualify for all physical layer and audiovisual innovation technology credits proposed by the Green Building Technology Alliance
  • A realized cost savings of greater than 30%!

Additional Resources:

These following white papers explore specific capabilities of ConvergeIT cabling in detail:

"Cable Sharing in Commercial Building Environments: Reducing Cost, Simplifying Cable Management and Converging Applications Onto Twisted-Pair Media", 2007

"IEEE 802.3at PoE Plus Operating Efficiency: How to Keep a Hot Application Running Cool", 2008

"Cabling Infrastructure and Green Building Initiatives", 2008

"Getting the Picture - The Benefits of Supporting Video Applications with your IT Infrastructure", 2009


  1. ANSI/TIA/EIA-862, "Building Automation Systems Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings", 2002 (Note: the next edition of this Standard, proposed ANSI/TIA/EIA-862-A, is currently under development. )
  2. ISO 16484 Building Automation and Control series, "Part 1 - Building Automation and Control, pending publication", "Part 2 - Hardware, 2004", "Part 3 - Functions, 2005", "Part 4 - Applications, pending publication", "Part 5 - Data Communication Protocol, 2007", and "Part 6 - Data Communication Conformance Testing, 2009"
  3. ANSI/TIA/568-C.1, "Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard", 2009
  4. ISO/IEC 11801, 2nd Edition, "Information Technology - Generic cabling for customer premises", 2002
  5. IEEE 802.3-2005, "IEEE Standard for Information technology - Telecommunications and information exchange between systems - Local and metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements Part 3: Carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) access method and physical layer specifications", Section Two, Clause 33 (incorporates the content of IEEE Std 802.3af-2003), December 2005
  6. TIA TSB-162, "Telecommunications Cabling Guidelines for Wireless Access Points", 2006
  7. ISO/IEC TR 24704, "Information Technology - Premises Cabling for Wireless Access Points", 2004
  8. TIA TSB-184, "Guidelines for Supporting Power Delivery over Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling", 2009
  9. ISO/IEC 29125, "Information technology - Telecommunications cabling guidelines for remote powering of data terminal equipment", pending publication
  10. Siemon, "IEEE 802.3at PoE Plus Operating Efficiency: How to Keep a Hot Application Running Cool", 2008
  11. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70®, National Electrical Code®, 2008
  12. Positioning Customers on the Path to Converge", BICSI NEWS, March/April 2009

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