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TYCO ELECTRONICS AMP NETCONNECT XG Network Cabling System Forms Heart Of Major Infrastructure Project

A network cabling system supplied by the AMP NETCONNECT Business Unit of Tyco Electronics is at the heart of a major infrastructure project at the London headquarters of Sony Music.

The AMP NETCONNECT XG cabling system forms part of a large-scale project managed and installed by infrastructure specialists Matrix IP, which also encompasses areas such as VoIP, access control, CCTV, video conferencing, wireless networking, IPTV, and uninterruptible power supplies.

Sony Music Entertainment UK is part of one of the largest music and entertainment companies in the world. It has a broad array of local artists and international superstars, as well as a vast catalogue comprising some of the most important recordings in history. Following a reorganisation which involved the integration of the Columbia, RCA and Epic labels among others, the company has moved from its previous offices in Fulham and Hammersmith, respectively, into new headquarters just off Kensington High Street in London.

Although the Derry Street building, in which Sony Music now occupies two floors out of six, had previously been used for office accommodation, by the time that Sony took it over it resembled a multi-storey car park, with concrete walls, floors and pillars. The challenge for Sony Music was to transform it into an environment that could not only house their staff and operations, but could also act as a showcase for the company and its multimedia activities.

This media-oriented aspect of Sony's operations posed particular challenges to the infrastructure development and specifically the cabling system. Activities run by the 500-plus staff including managing artists' web sites, mobile ring-tone downloads and streamed live multi-casting TV channels.

Each of the 550 desks in the headquarters has the capability for an IPTV solution screen in addition to the normal voice and data access, while additional complexity is provided by IT and multi-media functions in 50 meeting rooms, some with video conferencing enabled, along with multi-screen projection TV in the reception areas.

The task of finding a system which could address these challenges was handed to Peter Elgar, IT Infrastructure Manager of Sony Music Entertainment UK. From previous experience he knew that there were very few organisations which could provide expertise in both standard cabling hardware and the needs of the video/multimedia operations, and after evaluating the offerings from six different suppliers the decision was taken to appoint BT iNet as the main supplier.

BT iNet uses Matrix IP as their main source of cabling expertise among other disciplines, and it was Matrix IP that recommended the use of an AMP NETCONNECT network cabling solution. One of the key elements in favour of the AMP NETCONNECT network cabling system was the fact that they could offer a Category 7 F/FTP (foil-screened twisted pair) solution capable of supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet applications equivalent in performance to the Category 7 shielded system that Sony had originally looked at but discarded on cost grounds. When used in conjunction with the Cisco switching system, this delivers 1 Gbit Ethernet as well as PoE (power over Ethernet) links to the multiple ports on each desk.

Another point in favour of the AMP NETCONNECT network cabling equipment was the availability of Hi-D cabling racks with angled patch panels that were easy to install and configure using colour-coded AMP patch leads. These were installed in the main communications rooms containing 18 HP racks, 4 AMP Hi-D cabling racks with 48 Category 6A shielded ports per rack and 14 Hi-D racks in seven fibre attached patch rooms. In total, the system provides over 2700 outlets, and is linked to a Cisco 20 Gbit backbone network housing over 50 local servers and providing WAN access to other Sony operations in Europe, the USA and Asia.

The system was installed in the first quarter of 2008, and has performed faultlessly ever since. 'Due to the detailed project management on both sides and the kit chosen, this was the smoothest building move I've been involved with', says Peter Elgar, paying tribute to the Matrix IP organisation and the AMP NETCONNECT infrastructure hardware: 'It was completed on time and within budget, and the installation team performed over and above the call of duty.

Email: dave.richens@tycoelectronics.com


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