What is a Converged Network System?
The Converged Network System (CNS) is crucial to the success of a Smart Building. A CNS is sometimes called the Basic Building Network or the Common Network System. WiredScore uses a different term again with the Landlord Integration Network, one of the six technological foundations of a Smart Building. They define it as “The network running through the building and connecting the building systems and software, to which the occupier can integrate (including the physical environment and cabling).”
The CNS consists of core high-performance network switches, creating a series of highly secure Virtual Local Area Networks (VLAN) which allow secure network data ports to be assigned and managed so that traffic flows are optimised. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) provide protection against Cybersecurity threats, and the use of WiFi and Power Over Ethernet provides the required robust connectivity coverage beyond the wired VLAN.
Of course, once the building goes live, that is just the beginning. A Smart Building evolves, so Ideal provides a range of Managed Services to ensure the CNS continues to support the Building Management Team’s ambitions.
Why does a building need a CNS?
Building managers have several drivers for making a building smarter, including:
- The need to make savings over the complete lifecycle
- The need to reduce energy usage, both from a cost and an ESG perspective
- The need to deliver great user experiences
- The need to make the building secure and protect both systems and people
However one of the biggest issues is a lack of interoperability between systems and infrastructure, with consequent silos of data preventing a true understanding of the building’s performance. The CNS provides the core platform for the Technological Foundation of the Smart Building.
Achieving the Benefits of Smart Building Technologies
Learn more about why an Ideal CNS is key to achieving your Smart Building vision in our guide on “Why and how to upgrade to a Converged Network System”. Produced in partnership with Cisco, it unpacks the reasons for making the switch to a CNS, and how you should approach it.
Systems Talk to Systems
A large Commercial Real Estate development contains a wide range of technology systems. The core systems such as Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Lighting, Lifts, CCTV etc are all managed by control systems such as Building Management Systems, Power Management Systems, Energy Management Systems etc. The vast majority use Internet Protocol to exchange control information but historically ran on discrete networks. The Converged or Common Network System brings all of these together in what WiredScore refer to as the Landlord Integration Network.
A Building Management System (BMS) is the core building system used to control and monitor a building’s electrical and mechanical equipment. It controls key building features such as ventilation, lighting, energy, fire systems, and security systems. It consists of both software and hardware and plays a key role in enabling building management teams to achieve their required benefits and efficiencies, while also playing a major role towards sustainability objectives. Major BMS vendors include Schneider, Tridium, Trend, Distech, EasyIO and Honeywell.
A Converged Network System (CNS) is an intelligent and secure multiservice Internet Protocol (IP) platform that is designed to support the BMS and all other IP-enabled applications and solutions. A well-designed deployed and managed CNS is critical to unlocking the full functionality of the BMS.
Why is a CNS critical to a Smart Building?
- Availability and Reliability: Having a reliable and intelligent building network may seem to be a given. However, few companies have Ideal’s expertise in delivering large, complex networks in some of the most challenging construction environments.
- Security: The expanding range of IT, OT and IoT devices required in a Smart Building present a new set of potential vulnerabilities that can impact employees and visitors. The CNS, as well as other Ideal Smart Building services, plays a key role in identifying and mitigating these potential threats.
- Flexibility: Through an integrated connectivity approach, Ideal leverages multiple access technologies, including Wi-Fi and Power over Ethernet (PoE), to align the building infrastructure to specific Smart Building goals.
- Use of PoE technology in the design: Provides extended power reach, saving cabling and energy costs.
- Minimise silos: Any large building will have multiple ‘IP Partners’ such as HVAC, Lighting, CCTV providers etc. Via the deployment and management of the CNS, Ideal acts as a de facto ‘Master Systems Integrator’ avoiding the danger of silos and optimising performance
Factory Acceptance Testing
The challenges of deploying a large and complex LAN and Wireless infrastructure on-site during construction means that the value of pre-staging to thoroughly test the CNS and the services that use it offsite before deployment is obvious. As we understand the downstream challenges that inadequate testing of connected services can create. Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) is a key stage tackling the challenges that inadequate testing of connected services can create.
The term ‘Factory Acceptance Test’ comes from the world of operational and construction technologies where equipment is tested in the factory before being shipped and deployed on-site. This could include systems such as Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, CCTV, Lighting etc. These service partners are often referred to as ‘IP Partners’ as they are connecting Operational Technology systems to the network over Internet Protocol (IP). There are two key areas of testing:
- Tests to provide validation of the CNS build, demonstrating that it has been built to comply with the specified requirements and design.
- Opportunities for stakeholders and partner services to attend our staging facility to test and validate the performance of their services, ensuring functionality, inter-service communications, and network security services perform as required.
The aim is to test in a structured yet flexible environment so that clients and contractors leave with the confidence that the CNS will perform to specification when deployed, including the ability of IP partners to run services immediately.
PoE describes technologies that pass electric power along with data on twisted pair Ethernet cabling. Deployed as part of a holistic CNS, PoE creates a consolidated low-voltage DC power grid that prolificates the secure collection of data and integration of systems through a single cable.