Jason Nelson, principal at RCA Integrated Systems in Windsor, Calif., understands the importance of a strong network foundation for the performance of intelligent lighting, HVAC, AV, automation and security systems in luxury residences. He has worked in the industry for years, designing and deploying a variety of technologies in high-end homes, and has witnessed the profound impact the network has on all aspects of a digital lifestyle.
“Network quality can make or break the end-user experience – from conducting Wi-Fi calls on a smartphone to downloading 4K video on a media streamer,” he says.
“Our wealthy clients don’t hesitate to invest in the best technologies on the market, but also expect them to work perfectly and without failure. … For a business like ours that relies heavily on word-of-mouth, a bad experience can be detrimental.
High-End Home Needs Enterprise-Grade Access Networks Solution
Networking is therefore standard on every home technology proposal submitted to potential customers. “He has to be there, on every project, no doubt,” Nelson notes. And not just any ordinary networking system.
“We have found Access Networks’ custom base system to be one of the best networking solutions on the market, capable of meeting the speed, range, and cybersecurity requirements of large, demanding, bandwidth-intensive projects. bandwidth that we generally manage. »
Nelson offers the following example of a typical network-intensive home technology project:
Spanning 12,000 square feet and packed with more than 300 smart, connected devices, this recently completed fully integrated smart home by RCA Integrated Systems required an expansive, state-of-the-art networking solution “to match of what you would find in a commercial office building,” says Nelson.
Homeowners requested the full suite of cutting-edge technologies, including automated, app-controllable shading and lighting, HVAC, pool and security, and high-resolution AV distribution for the whole house, home state-of-the-art cinema and office, and every possible means of control – voice, keyboards, touch screens, tablets and smartphones.
RCA’s installation includes a Savant home automation system; 27 audio zones with Stealth Acoustics, James Loudspeaker and Burwell & Sons speakers; Axis Communications surveillance system; and 2N access control system among the extensive high-tech products.
“There’s no way a consumer network could support so many devices and so much Wi-Fi activity without bottlenecks, which owners wanted to avoid at all costs,” Nelson says.
Custom VLANs keep Wi-Fi traffic flowing
Managed by Access Networks’ ARCC cloud-based controller, this home’s important Wi-Fi traffic is smooth. AV signals reach their intended destinations without latency. Controls move to lights, thermostats, home theater equipment and other devices without roadblocks or false turns.
High-resolution audio and video files download to smart TVs and speakers in seconds, not minutes. Business calls over Wi-Fi and Zoom are quick to connect and stable throughout.
Meanwhile, the Custom Core System protects the equipment against viruses and hackers through its integrated router with an advanced Sophos firewall.
“With the custom base system running in the background, everything happens seamlessly. All owners notice is that their technology is working, and working well,” Nelson says.
RCA Integrated Systems has further improved the Custom Core System’s network performance by segmenting Internet traffic into three custom VLANs: one dedicated to AV equipment, another to electronic subsystems, and a third to mobile devices.
“Like vehicles traveling in different lanes on a highway, Wi-Fi signals travel more efficiently through a home when they can travel in different VLANs,” Nelson explains. “With the ability to partition bandwidth, what could have taken homeowners four hours to upload a movie to their Kaleidescape Movie Server now takes just 15 minutes.”
The custom base system also maintains operational efficiency with its intelligent switching capabilities. If the homeowners’ primary provider’s Internet service goes down or experiences issues, the custom base system automatically switches to a secondary ISP. “The owners don’t even know there’s a problem,” says Nelson.
Owners also fail to notice the remarkable level of IT support provided behind the scenes. Nelson is the first to admit that RCA Integration Systems’ forte is systems integration, not IT. Instead, RCA Integration Systems relies on the expertise of Access Networks’ dedicated team of IT engineers to help design, deploy and maintain customers’ network systems.
Based on the parameters provided by RCA Integrated Systems (home size, project scope, etc.), the Access Networks team develops a networking plan, down to the location of the access points.
For this home, they recommended over a dozen Wi-Fi 6 access points. Two access points reside outdoors and the system uses two 12-, 24-, and 48-port ICX switches from Access Networks . RCA Integration Systems references the networking plan during network installation, which greatly streamlines workflow and labor.
“There is no guesswork, no complicated configuration, the network is ready to deploy. We plug it in and with a few minor tweaks it’s up and running. No IT experience required,” says Nelson.
In the event of a problem, such as a networked device going offline, the proactive live monitoring included with the custom base system sends an email alert to RCA integration systems and access networks, identifying where and when the problem has occurred.
The ARCC cloud-based controller provides even greater network visibility and remediation, allowing them to resolve situations quickly and efficiently from anywhere.
Check out many more images of this huge installation in the slideshow above!