Bringing the Building to

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2007-03-18 Print this article Print

Life"> "In many buildings, cellular service is very difficult because youre so high above the cell towers. We wanted people to have access wherever they are. We had to optimize that from the 44th floor down to the first. Signal strength is not a problem in Manhattan, but the quality of signal is," Montplaisir said.

Once construction began, Hearst officials decided to begin bringing the building to life, filling in the lower floors and moving upward as construction progressed. "We turned it on in stages because it was being built in stages," Moses said. "Once we had enough floors to turn on a service provider, we would walk the floors with the provider and verify it, and wireless LAN as well."
Moses said bringing cellular service up the entire building was a long process. "It was actually quite a while, probably over a six- or eight-month period," he said.
Still, getting all those floors to co-exist was a challenge. "Because of the complexity of the building, an RF [radio-frequency] frequency management plan needed to be administered," Filatov said. He said the plan included a spectral analysis throughout the building to measure propagation characteristics and to determine the noise floor. "Everything adds to the noise," Filatov said, adding that the wireless technologies need to be 20 decibels above the noise floor to work properly. "In the beginning of January [2006], we were fitting out the data center," said Montplaisir, describing the move-in timeline. "Then the IT group moved to the 10th floor of the tower." He said it was critical that the IT department and the data center be implemented first because the rest of the staff would have to move without any interruptions. Moses said that while there were some minor problems, those were very few. "Given the size of the building and the fact that it was turned on in stages, it was managed very well," Moses said. "They were very concerned about aesthetics in the building. I think it looks very good. They were looking for a very clean feeling." For the most part, Hearst executives got their wish to have a building thats aesthetically pleasing. "The building has a very modern look," Schwagerl said. Its very sleek, very fashionable and very green in its approach with all natural light pouring in." However, Schwagerl said Hearst couldnt work with just any building design. "Because were a communications company, it was very important that all the [audiovisual], all the telephony, all the IT have a very clean approach and have a high degree of functionality that the old offices didnt have," Schwagerl said. "Weve achieved that and have received high marks from our employees and how the offices are functioning for them." He said a significant factor in the successful implementation was the extent to which the company planned nearly every detail before starting and then closely monitored every step. "The response has been overwhelmingly positive to all of the amenities weve been able to bring on the IT side, with the wireless and wired networks, the converged networks, [and] IPTV [IP Television]," said Christopher Resch, associate director of technical services for Hearst. He said the ability to have one network handle everything from VOIP to television has allowed the company the freedom to manage instead of being forced to spend all its time fixing things that break. "Weve had very little downtime. The network is faster and more resilient than anything weve had in the past," Resch said. The use of converged networks means that the company has to devote less space to wiring and to network equipment, which means that theres more space available for people, Schwagerl said. In addition, he said the clean, unobstructed look is pleasing to the employees. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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