Passive Optical LAN enables McGough’s Open, Healthy and Smart office

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Case Study, Featured

Tellabs Optical LAN enables McGough’s Open, Healthy and Smart office
McGough chooses Tellabs Optical LAN because of its flexibility to support network connectivity in a spacious, productive, healthy and smart modern workplace at their new world-class headquarters.

What makes McGough’s corporate headquarters so unique? This showcase 54,277 square foot office in Roseville, Minnesota, effectively blends both the old with the new. McGough did this by transforming a 60-year-old trucking terminal into a 21st century work environment, and then expanding their office footprint with a brand-new two-story wing built from the ground up.

This state-of-the-art modern office allows their 250 employees to team together in an open, healthy and flexible floorplan design meant to stimulate great collaboration and creativity; featuring flexible workstations, huddle areas, many sun-soaked windows, break stations, extended ceilings and natural light filled conference rooms.

The complexity of the new facility architecture resulted in many challenges for both the wired and wireless networks. First, with the large cavernous interior space, there were distance issues that exceeded the connectivity limits of copper cablings 300’ reach. Second, by modernizing the layout of the workspace by removing walls, this reduced the amount of wall space, ceilings, and closets that typically hide network equipment and associated cables.

McGough needed a flexible network design that could adopt both pure greenfield construction and brownfield modernization in the most efficient manner. The new headquarters project progressed at an accelerated rate and thousands of networked devices (e.g. WAPs, VoIP handsets, IP Cameras) needed to be connected seamlessly. In this new era of smart buildings, ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) to work, the truth is that IT budgets and staff rarely expand equally.

An additional point of contention for McGough is the rapid evolution of technology. How could they out-smart network advancement and mitigate the business impact of constant adaptation? The McGough team needed a contemporary showcase headquarters, and network, that could sustain their business for another +60 years in whatever shape or form that evolves.

The McGough family of employees are pros at building both new modern offices and renovating historical landmarks. To best match their construction needs, and corporate goals, they chose Tellabs Optical LAN which ideally addressed all the above referenced challenges with its tangible benefits by:

    • Breaking traditional network design barriers
    • Offering ease of use with more automation and less human touch
    • Ensuring least disruptive path to future technologies, including wireless


Breaking traditional network design barriers

McGough knew the pit falls of traditional network design barriers. Their former headquarters was a 60-year-old structure made of thick brick walls, and over time as the business has grown, and the building was expanded to accommodate the growth of staff, and with each CATx generation of copper cabling added, a tangled mess of cabling grew inside the walls and above the ceiling. The main data center and telecom rooms did not fare much better either. These limited areas housed the racked Ethernet switches that grew over time at the expense of negative impacts on building space, energy use and additional air conditioning. And, you can forget about good Wi-Fi reception! The brick building, and all of its interior walls, greatly hindered adequate Wi-Fi coverage.

These issues were fixed at the new headquarters and Passive Optical LAN enhanced the modern design. In the new building walls, ceilings and offices were minimized reducing areas traditionally used to hide cables and Ethernet switches in a traditional network. The Passive Optical LAN solution for modern work environments provides much narrower fiber cabling, less plastics, more pliable, better tinsel strength and can transport a currently unknown quantity of bandwidth to greater number of gigabit Ethernet endpoints. Even better yet, consider how Passive Optical LAN can connect enterprise LAN over a fiber-based “passive” network that can virtually extend Ethernet connectivity 12-18 miles with no power, nor maintenance and using highly reliable components.

With the open ceiling of our office, having bundles of cabling visible was not an option, so a traditional architecture was not going to be possible,” said Paul Boespflug, McGough’s Chief Technology Officer. “With the Tellabs Optical LAN design, we placed a Tellabs 1134 OLT back in the main data center and ran the fiber cabling underneath a raised floor. At the network endpoints, we used Tellabs 180C ONTs to economically connect eight workstations to eight Ethernet ports. This kept everything out of sight.”


Offering ease of use with automation and less human touch

It’s a fast-paced business world we all live in these days and running projects on a tight schedule is all part of McGough’s business. In the past with a traditional network design, the McGough IT staff time was consumed by monitoring, troubleshooting, and various changes being executed at all the Ethernet switches distributed across their old buildings. Each one of those Ethernet switches, though very familiar to the IT staff, introduced operational complexity because every switch, and every port, was fully functional, and a potential point of network vulnerability. Several building expansions and cabling additions over the years created various problems with isolation and network provisioning. The difficulty with this mode of operation, is that statistically humans are known to be the greatest cause of network downtime and network security breaches.

By choosing a Passive Optical LAN design for the new headquarters, McGough remedied these challenges. Since, Passive Optical LAN is based on centralized intelligence and management and the underlying network is “passive” there truly is nothing to manage between the main data room and the connected endpoints. From a single management interface, the McGough IT staff can manage their entire network as one virtual Ethernet switch, with visibility to the outside wide area network Ethernet connections, and visibility to every Ethernet connection to users and devices across their entire campus – and no moving parts in between to provision, monitor or troubleshoot. Furthermore, with centralized intelligence and management of the network, global profiles can be created in software that automate the connectivity of users, devices and service. This enables workers to freely move around their modern office workspace, and access the network anywhere, but do so with secure network access control.

This also applies to network devices, like Wireless Access Points (WAP), VoIP handsets and IP Cameras that can be added to the network in a plug-and-play machine-to-machine automated manner. With the Passive Optical LAN architecture, now McGough IT staff can focus on critical needs of the corporation and automate other mundane daily tasks – allowing them to work smarter and more efficiently.

We completed construction of the new headquarters on November 21st, and on the very next day, we started moving in. With the Tellabs Optical LAN we were able to stand-up the network in under one week. The ability to create profiles, that allowed us to plug-and-play the ONTs, including all the devices we attached to the ONTs, really helped us get this done in the limited time available,” stated Boespflug.


Ensuring least disruptive path to future technologies

Wireless connectivity is imperative in a contemporary office like McGough’s new headquarters. Similar to other corporations, McGough has three areas of concern relative to ensuring that their employees have access to the best performing wireless network. The first one has already been discussed, and that is that sheetrock, insulation, plywood, glass, concrete, brick and metal all hinder wireless signal. The new headquarters remedied those issues with its large open office space. The next two issues of concern to the McGough IT team, are making sure the wireless access points have adequate bandwidth capacity today, and in the future, plus making sure that the network can easily adapt to future wireless technology evolutions.

This was an important reason for McGough to pick Passive Optical LAN as the network design of choice for their new headquarters. Passive Optical LAN promotes the use of singlemode fiber cabling and limits the use of copper CATx cabling to only short jumpers between the ONTs and the connected devices – many using Power over Ethernet (PoE) to be powered. By cabling both the renovated trucking terminal, and the brand-new office building with singlemode cabling, McGough is confident that this network infrastructure has the bandwidth capacity to support megabit, gigabit, and even terabit per second data rates.

Today’s Wi-Fi WAPs require gigabit speed connectivity, and anticipate multiple gigabit or 10 gigabits will be needed in the near future. This scalability is why more business are turning to for singlemode fiber and Passive Optical LAN.

Currently, Passive Optical LAN supports gigabit connectivity, and it already has the option of multi-rate Ethernet connectivity (e.g. 1G, 2.5, 5G or 10G) with 10 gigabit transmission links (e.g. 10G XGS-PON). This is all possible because Passive Optical LAN technology is based on multiple optical wavelengths that can support 10G, 25G, 40G and even 100G with no conflict – and we already know that the singlemode fiber stands ready to support those speeds and more.

It is very important to us to have the ability to easily, and with the lowest possible costs and least disruption to our business, to change network technologies. Wi-Fi is a great example of a rapidly evolving technology. By building this network with singlemode fiber, and Tellabs Optical LAN, we have put ourselves in the best position to support whatever the future brings,” commented Boespflug.


OLAN enables an Open, Healthy and Smart contemporary HQ!

Taking into consideration all the challenges McGough overcame with its successful completion of its world-class headquarters, much has been accomplished. McGough successfully balanced and blended the new modern office needs while renovating the terminal space. The Tellabs Optical LAN was a perfect choice that helped McGough exceed their goals of breaking traditional network design barriers, achieving ease of use with the benefit of less human touch and taking advantage of this smart investment with the least disruptive path to future technologies. And above all, provide a spacious, productive, healthy and smart modern workplace for their valued employees.



About McGough

McGough is a premier general contractor and construction management firm offering full-service real estate capability. The firm, incorporated in 1956 by Peter McGough and his six sons, remains a family-owned company today. McGough is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota with branch offices in Iowa, North Dakota and Texas that facilitate project development and construction activities nationwide.

McGough was born of passion and true craftsmen, and these roots have continued to shape the company through its evolution. We are dedicated to delivering high-quality buildings that perform optimally for owners throughout their lifespan and employ high-quality practices in doing so. Over the many decades we’ve been in business, we have built not only great buildings, but also exceptional experiences for our customers and partners. We value the passion and commitment that drive our reputation for quality.


about WELL Building Standard

McGough is attempting to achieve WELL™ certification on its new headquarters in support of its commitment to its employees’ health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard™ is the first standard to integrate human health and wellness objectives into the design, construction, and operation of buildings.


About Tellabs

Tellabs is leading network innovations with access technologies built to exceed today’s demands while delivering modern high-performance solutions for the future. Fast and secure access has never been in more demand for enterprise and government connectivity. Tellabs’ sole focus is to deliver simple, secure, scalable, stable access to optimize network performance. Tellabs has delivered carrier-class access solutions to service providers for more than two decades. We are now expanding that leadership by defining the future of enterprise networking that connects the campus, buildings and inspires people.

John Hoover, Tellabs Marketing Director
John Hoover
Director of Marketing
John Hoover is a Marketing Director at Tellabs and 2024 Board Chair of the Association for Promoting Optical LAN (APOLAN). Over the past 20 years, John has influenced industry milestones such as early passive optical network deployments, video implementations, wireless and more recently enterprise Passive Optical LAN adoption.

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