Skip to comments.Make an Old Building Wireless Broadband-Ready on the Cheap
Posted on 03/02/2006 5:15:48 PM PST by rambo316
Wiring an old hotel for wireless Internet access can easily cost more than $1 million in construction and cabling costs, and that doesn't even factor in the lost revenue when rooms are unavailable due to the work.
But some hotels have found a way around that problem using power line communications, or PLC, products, from TELKONET Inc. The company's technology, also known as "broadband over power line," is installed in the basement of a building and connects to its existing electrical system. To get wired broadband access, guests simply plug a modem into any electrical outlet.
"It did not make sense for us to pull cable," says Salim Kassam, vice president of marketing for the 31-property Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites chain in Canada. "We're market leaders in terms of occupancy, and we didn't want to inconvenience our guests and lose revenue because of construction."
Providing PLC has been technically feasible for decades, but the technology only recently gained acceptance in the marketplace. The first step was reducing the amount of wireless interference caused by earlier systems and increasing data speeds to something comparable to broadband.
As a result, the market is now hitting its stride as other PLC providers, including Corinex Communications Inc., Ambient Corp. and 3One Networks Inc., move to help businesses provide broadband over their electrical infrastructure.
Telkonet offers total speeds of 6 megabits per second depending on the quality of the electrical line. (Older lines are generally less efficient.) In the United States, broadband speeds typically range from 500 kilobits per second to 3 megabits per second, although Internet access providers are starting to offer faster speeds for higher prices. BellSouth Corp., for instance, can offer up to 6 mbps, while Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. provide speeds up to 30 mbps and 8 mbps, respectively, while Cablevision Systems Corp. offers a 50 mbps service plan.
Compared with conventional broadband gear, PLC equipment is shockingly cheap. The Telkonet system costs about $2,500 for a gateway that connects to a T1, ISDN or fiber optic line. The gateway then connects to a $150 coupler that translates Internet protocol-based data so it can travel over electrical lines. The coupler connects to the circuit breaker, which pushes the signal throughout the building.
On the receiving end of the signal is a modem-like device called an iBridge, which is connected to a user's computer with an Ethernet cable. The iBridges cost about $250 each, and hotels generally buy units for about 20 percent of their guests. Kassam says his chain is buying more iBridges to satisfy demand for broadband access.
Along with simplicity and ease of use, the PLC system enables buildings to provide a secure wired broadband connection without having to pull expensive cable through the walls.
Kassam says Telkonet's products were 10 times cheaper when compared with wired and wireless offerings. Installation took a day or two for each property and required a professional electrician to work around the older wiring, he adds.
Hotels and apartment buildings are not the only market for PLC products. Historic properties and homes also can benefit from delivering broadband using existing wiring, as opposed to tearing down walls or making other extensive repairs.
Among Telkonet's other customers is Donald Trump, whose company uses the technology in its Trump Place, Trump World Tower, and Trump International Hotel and Tower buildings. Telkonet also provides broadband to some Comfort Inns and Ramada properties, along with an undisclosed U.S. aircraft carrier.
Wiring for wireless--a completely new concept.
More power to you!
Sounds like the Law Techonology outfit quoted here can't comprehend the LESS part of WIRELESS.
Maybe they let the LAW part get in the way of logic.
I've worked with this technology before. We are talking short life like 8 Track. It's a neat concept to modulate the existing electric power to carry the internet signal. There is a transformer that modulates the electric signal and then there is another transformer that filters out the 60 hz leaving just the signal. And thats what you plug into.
I never did like the idea of plugging my network card into the 110 v outlet, that takes alot of trust. And then you have the problem of RFI (radio frequency interference). The modulated electric signal will insert itself into any AM radio in the vicinity. And I listen to alot of AM radio.
It'll be obselete once wireless gets secured. ( I think )
Going "wireless" lets any bum with a laptop suck your bandwidth if he/she is anywhere near your network. Providing high speed net service over power lines lets you keep the service in your building.
I find the price odd considering they just finished 40 square miles in Tempe,AZ. for 2 mil.
Since you know about this technology - can you tell me, will it work to provide an intercom for an old apartment building that is currently using telephones for doorbells and intercoms?
This sounds like a good application for this technology. I know that Ham Radio operators took exception to it, but only when it was proposed to "wire" entire neighborhoods and regions. It tends to blank out all shortwave frequencies when used on that scale.
Maybe they let the LAW part get in the way of logic.
You guys are hard! You know she meant that they don't have
to have the building cabled. Business reporters sometimes
have trouble with technology.
This technology is huge. It is a quadruple play. Type in telkonet.com and read all about it. It is already being used in many places.
My daughter works for one.
Yes of course...
Radio shack has a device that broadcasts voice over your electrical system. You can even send your telephone dialtone over your electrical.
I was wondering that myself...
Just to clarify before I go running off to Radio Shack, there are ways to communicate from an apartment building lobby to individual apartments via wireless systems? or at least using the existing electrical wiring.
The building had an old intercom system but it got old and squeaky. It was 'upgraded' to a system that uses the telephone lines. It requires that the building pay for two phone lines ($75 a month if you can believe it!)and only works if the telephone in the target apartment is not being used.
A wireless system would save money and be more convenient. Do you think there is something at Radio Shack that would work? Thanks!
If you are paying 75 bucks a month it's probably worth your trouble to buy a set of two and test it out.
There's a link to the product im talking about. It uses the AC Power for a carrier to all the electrical outlets. This is a 'Line Carrier' type device which will transmit the signal out to your transformer. It's only three channels though so whatever is heard on one is heard on all. No private conversations here.
A big THANK YOU!
Freepers are the best!
I'm considering offering installation of the Telkonet system through my electrical company, but could use some input from anyone who has actually used it.