Passive Optical LAN enables 3 Innovations that Simplify the Internet of Things at 3 Buildings

by | Apr 18, 2018 | Case Study

Sinclair Holdings’ three downtown Fort Worth, Texas buildings simplify network connectivity, powering and management of sophisticated digital ceiling, voice, video, data, Wi-Fi, lighting, control and automation with a single Tellabs Optical LAN system.

The most modern, technologically sophisticated and elegant building in vibrant downtown Fort Worth, Texas is the circa 1930 art deco Sinclair Building and its new contemporary downtown Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel. When this Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel opens in 2018, it is going to feature the very latest Internet of Things (IoT) devices, seamless connected serving the buildings voice, video, data, Wi-Fi, lighting, control and automation. This same contemporary network design at the Sinclair Building will be replicated at the STS Tower and Hotel Texas Annex buildings – in fact, one fiber-based Passive Optical LAN (OLAN) will provide connectivity across all three buildings.

Unleashing such sophistication does not come without risks. The vision of Sinclair Holdings LLC, which owns the buildings, is to first and foremost deliver to their tenants and guests the greatest customer experience possible. Yet, with all these hundreds and thousands of high-tech digital LED lighting, smart HVAC, wireless access points, automated drapes, building sensors, security access controls and even Bluetooth enabled LED bathroom mirrors that project phone, music and TV screen information, all these electronic end-points can overwhelm network IT staff and burden the building power consumption. When you impact staff and power consumption, you need to realize that Sinclair Holdings is operating a business and their two biggest expenses are labor and utilities.

Sinclair Holdings has a clear strategy on how to tame the complexity of this IoT digital future. At the center of their master plan is VT Group and Tellabs Optical LAN. VT Group was utilized as an emerging technology systems integrator that provided the expert design, install and support of this solution. The Tellabs Optical LAN solution was chosen because it simplifies the underlying network connectivity and it is scalable for constant future IoT growth. The benefits of Optical LAN in a sophisticated smart building can be described in greater detail by discussing three key areas of innovations to efficiently support modern high-performance building’s voice, video, data, Wi-Fi, building lighting, control and automation connectivity:

  • Connectivity Innovations
  • Powering Innovations
  • Management Innovations


Connectivity Innovations

The design of VT Group and the architecture of Tellabs Optical LAN at the Sinclair Building is a fiber-based point-to-multi-point design for connecting the multitude of IoT end-points. This is a far better means of designing a LAN’s distribution and aggregation compared to legacy copper-based LAN’s point-to-point footprint. At the Sinclair Building, VT Group installed the Tellabs OLAN Optical Network Terminal (ONT) that provides Gigabit connectivity to the Universal Power Ethernet (UPOE) Switches, and Wireless Access Points (WAP). All the building’s voice, video, data, lighting, control and automation are then connected to ports either on the OLAN ONT, UPOE switch or WAP. Tellabs Optical LAN, based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON) breaks traditional LAN limitations relative to Gigabit Ethernet connectivity density and reach.

From a density stand-point, one Tellabs OLAN Optical Line Terminal (OLT), positioned in the main data center, can serve 8,000 Gigabit Ethernet end-points in a point-to-multipoint architecture. Compared to traditional point-to-point Ethernet Switches architecture, OLAN offers 4x the port density in 90% less building space. Furthermore, in a point-to-multipoint architecture one SMF cable can carry 128 gigabit Ethernet connection, where traditional point-to-point architecture requires 128 individual cables. This saves precious space in building risers and horizontal pathways, an important benefit for protecting historical buildings against unnecessary cabling, coring and other harmful construction activities.

As for reach, Passive Optical LAN can travel 12-miles in distance without active electronics. Thus, this Optical LAN design has 300x better reach than traditional copper-based LANs. This attribute eliminates the need for traditional telecommunications rooms which then has a rippling effect of lowering building power consumption and shifts valuable real estate to revenue-generating purposes. This 12-mile optical reach presents Sinclair Holdings with an unique opportunity to connect all three building via one centralized OLT. Thus, the one OLT located in the main data center of the Sinclair Buildings serves all 16-stories of the Sinclair Building, and it also connects the 8-story STS Tower and the 13-story Hotel Texas.

“With Tellabs Optical LAN we reduced the construction impact on cable risers, horizontal cable pathways and telecom rooms which was very important considering we were modernizing historic buildings,” said Farukh Aslam, Managing Partner at Sinclair Holdings LLC. “The one centralized OLT located at the one main data center at the Sinclair building offers a tremendously efficient means to manage and operate a single network that serves all three buildings.”


Powering Innovations

With technical guidance from VT Group, Sinclair Holdings is boldly moving forward as an early visionary of the synergies between 48 Volt Direct Current (DC) low-power, Power over Ethernet (PoE), Digital Power and Optical LAN.

First, 48V DC low-power devices (e.g. building LED lighting, WAPs, building sensors, building security, room environmental controls) are more energy efficient, have extended life span and produce less heat when compared to traditional high-power Alternating Current (AC) devices. 48V DC low-power devices are safer and do not introduce the hazards associated with high-power AC, thus these low-power devices can be installed by junior technician and not more expensive certified electrician.

Next, 48V DC low-power devices can be both powered and connected to the network by PoE. That means that the Ethernet jumper cable delivers the 48V DC power utilizing PoE (i.e. 15W, 30W or even 60W) to the smart IP/Ethernet IoT end-points. Now we come to the most exciting powering technology for this modern building, called Digital Power. Digital Power is the transmission of digitized and packetized power in a manner that is touch safe (e.g. Class-2) that breaks traditional reach and power limitations of the past. Digital Power can travel over a thousand feet in many enterprise LAN applications and is ultimately delivered to the end powered device as low voltage direct current. That distance traveled is dependent on the gauge of the copper cable and the wattage power needed at the end-device.

Finally, the Tellabs OLAN bundles all of the above together efficiently. Like Digital Power, OLAN breaks traditional Ethernet connectivity reach barriers, thus by combining Digital Power and OLAN, fiber-based gigabit Ethernet connectivity can span over a thousand feet. OLAN ONTs then can deliver PoE (i.e. 15W, 30W or even 60W) directly from their Ethernet ports as well.

At the Sinclair Building, the Digital Power headend equipment, located in the main data center, powers the UPOE switch, which powers the OLAN ONT using PoE, which powers the Wi-Fi WAP using PoE. Both the UPOE Switch and the OLAN ONT then power all the voice, video, data, lighting, control and automation end-points using PoE.

“We connect and automate the control of the lighting, window shades, visual, audio, HVAC and access control so that each of our tenants and hotel guests personalizes their own in-room experience,” said Aslam. “We are also expecting to save as much as 35% in energy savings and operations costs with our LED lighting system.”


Management Innovations

Through years of experience working with major global hotel brands and high-end enterprise businesses, VT Group knows how to leverage the Tellabs Optical LAN’s centralized intelligence and centralized management.

The centralized intelligence and centralized management means the OLAN system dynamically allocates network resources (e.g. bandwidth, QoS, security, paths, power management), defined in software, based on real time requirements. It also helps ensure consistent policies and procedures are adhered to by the IT staff, which ultimately improves the speed and accuracy of their daily network moves, adds and changes. This promotion of machine-to-machine automation reduces human stress and human error in operating a sophisticated modern building.

Tellabs Panorama PON Manager is the cornerstone of an Optical LAN end-to-end system. It provides the one screen centralized intelligence and element management across the entire LAN, from OLT to ONT, and extends to subtended powered devices. Tellabs PON Manager has global configuration templates that speed LAN installation, management and automation, which is important since building owners often deal with IT staff skillset gaps and IT staff talent shortages.

Next, it is important to call out the benefits of networking together all these thousands of connected and powered smart IoT end-points. With all these smart IoT end-points connected over the Tellabs Optical LAN, the buildings operations and the guest services can be automated, and more importantly, they can be pro-actively managed. The Tellabs OLAN ONTs, and the sub-tended powered devices, enable a plug-and-play environment. By promoting plug-and-play actions in a modern IoT deployment, Sinclair Holdings saves money on day-1 installation costs and year-over-year operational costs.

Furthermore, since these smart end-points are now all speaking Internet Protocol (IP), Sinclair Holdings can easily program automation software that governs all the building LED lighting, building sensors, building security and environmental controls actions in unison. This includes being proactively notified that there is an error, outage or alarm in the building well before a tenant or hotel guest even notices.

“For example, I never want one of our tenants or hotel guest to have to call our staff to tell us that a light bulb is out in their room,” said Aslam, “With our connected IP enabled smart LED lighting system our staff is notified that a light bulb is bad proactively.”


Sinclair Holdings benefits from Connectivity, Powering and Management Innovations

With the VT Group’s innovative implementation, the Tellabs Optical LAN simplifies network connectivity and provides ascalable architecture for future IoT expansion. The automation of all three of Sinclair Holdings’ building business operations and guests’ amenities over the Optical LAN provides an innovative means to support the latest generation of digital ceiling, high speed internet, Wi-Fi, lighting, control and proactive monitoring. The OLAN system is the first best choice to support an extreme smart building and modern high-performance building needs. Finally, the OLAN’s innovative design and architecture benefited Sinclair Holdings by lowering their top-two business expenses of labor and utilities, which directly contributes to their business financial health.

“The innovative Tellabs Optical LAN architecture allowed us to deliver the network bandwidth, performance and amenities our technically savvy tenants and hotel guests demand without impacting the historic buildings’ limited space for equipment rooms and cable pathways,” said Aslam. “This is a 24/7/365 business with critical services trusted to the Tellabs Optical LAN, it was imperative that connectivity be simple and scalable, but also extremely stable and secure.”


 About Tellabs

Tellabs is leading the future of hospitality networking with access solutions for today, poised to deliver modern high-performance solutions for the future.  Fast, reliable and secure connectivity has never been in more demand for hotel and resort connectivity. Tellabs’ sole focus is to deliver simple, secure, scalable and stable access that optimizes the hotel guest experience.

About VT Group

VT Group provides advanced technology for hotel and resort IT solutions that help these owners, operators and developers compete in a global market.  VT Group brings deep experience in technology infrastructure that delivers technically sound, cost-effective and environmentally conscious solutions for hotels and resorts around the world.

About Sinclair Holdings’ Buildings

Sinclair Building: The Sinclair Building is a 16-story building built in 1929 and is located at 512 Main Street. It houses the 165-room Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, business offices, restaurant and roof-top bar. This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

STS Tower: The STS Tower is an 8-story building built in 1925 and is located at 515 Houston Street. This building includes a pharmacy, business offices and service provider data centers. A pedestrian bridge connects the Sinclair Building and the STS Tower that allows the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel access to spa, banquet facilities, hotel amenities and other hotel services.

Hotel Texas Annex Building: The Hotel Texas Annex is a 13-story building built in 1921 located at 811 Commerce Street. This building is home to 152 furnished apartments, business offices, retail outlets and parking. The Hotel Texas is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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.