Converge PoE P3: PoE Infrastructure Design

Part 3: Designing a PoE Solution

March 31, 2020


At the 2019 BICSI Fall Conference, Igor’s Director of Business Development, Matt Conger, joined Tyler and Maria from PoE Texas on the Converge PoE Live Stream to continue the conversation about PoE technology and Igor’s platform, Nexos. We gathered all the design-related questions and answers from the show and added some additional context that we did not have time to touch on while live! 

Did you miss Igor on the latest Converge PoE Live Stream?

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Now, what do you need to start planning and thinking about to make sure your project wins. As project managers firmly believe there’s planning and doing the right things up front will make your project success. So Matt, what do you need to do?

[Matt] If you are out in front with that project, you are will be working with all different players throughout the process. Some of the important things that I like to think about are the specifications clearly state where certain responsibilities fall. For example, who is providing the IT infrastructure equipment or the data closet or just the network, who are providing the fixtures. Things that also need to be thought about are the engineered stamp drawings because you definitely don’t want to mix line and low voltage on the same sheets and the reason you do that is because you want to ensure that multiple parties can bid those sheets. 

So, the low voltage sheets are bid separately from the line voltage sheets and that will ensure increased competition on these projects that’s value for that end-user client. We always like to recommend that BICSI-certified low-voltage technicians or companies are allowed to bid pulling the cable and that horizontal cable management and then licensed electricians and or BICSI certified low-voltage companies are allowed to bid the installation of the PoE lighting fixtures, the motion sensors, the wall switches, user interfaces, etc. Licensed electricians shall be allowed to bid the installation of line voltage fixtures for example, the parking lot installation - that’s residing with the licensed electrician community. Lastly, we want to make it where BICSI-certified technicians shall be allowed to bid landing cabling on any of the IT rack equipment and assembling any of the IT rack equipment because those guys are trained for that and we going to deliver a smooth implementation if you can abide by these guidelines.

I am proposing that when you go to PoE, in order to get the most value out of the contractors, you actually take the lighting off the division 26 drawings, or what would be called the electrical power drawings, and move them onto a division 27 drawing. And the reason behind that is you want your BICSI or other IT installer to install the lights and wiring to it. Now, you’ve told me you disagree with that and you have experience to tell you that it works out that way even if you try. I would love to get some feedback from you.

[Matt] We’ve seen projects where designers have moved specifications over into 27 and then as the project progresses, the questions goes back to who is responsible for light level, egress etc. and a lot of times that responsibility falls under what electrical engineers are sampling those drawings. So, I always consult the local engineering community that’s working on the project to see where to list it. Sometimes, we’ve seen it stay in 26 and sometimes we might see it in 27. At the end of the day, it is just making sure that the team works together to identify what’s the best place to make sure this bid properly gets the best value for that client. 

I have seen it gone both ways and its hard and for the reason that it’s because what we are doing is we are taking what was traditionally huge separate entities and bringing them together and so a lot of times the codes or the way we spec jobs hasn’t caught up to that. So it’s important that we are all communicating together and working as teams to find the best path to move forward. As long as you have people that have a stake in the game or owners that are engaged in this process, and engineers that are excited to participate, then we can all win together.

I wanted to share some lessons learned - what things that needs to be on a lighting project design?

[Tyler] Number 1, a Schematic Layout. A lot of network guys are just used to doing like a Visio networking drawing, but you need to start moving backward into a schematic design that shows a device and where its located with respect to the wiring to other devices and so a schematic layout is important so you’ll need to see on the division 27 drawing schematic layouts of the entire building. Now you have to deal with spatial requirements and wiring requirements. 

We also need to start seeing device and fixture schedules because you are going beyond just lighting as you’ve got sensors, cameras that are integrating into the system, you want them to be on your fixture schedule whether you break that up into one, whether you have one fixture schedule that are all the lights and sensors, or have multiple fixture schedules or you do lights, sensors, cameras, other devices, you do need to have a fixture schedule that helps specify the product. 

Another thing you need to do I found was really important and that I haven’t seen before is a power budget schedule. I think that’s an important feature doing a budget schedule so that you can make sure that you are buying enough equipment and not just filling afterwards. 

The other important thing is rack elevations as you are filling in spaces for customer, they are going to be interacting with this a lot more. It’s no longer just a rack that’s pushed into the back corner.

[Matt] Absolutely, let me go back to that power budget quickly. Something else that we or the engineers take into consideration which power budget and that would determine theater size or how they get to their main distribution panel so we are doing the same thing in that data rack now so I have to know what the consumption of all those switches. So whether I am using volt server or I’m using traditional AC infrastructure to know how much I need so all that acts into the start of the fixture design and you work your way back to the networking equipment and that will feed into the engineer’s kit.

[Tyler] Power budget schedule helps you roll into the rack elevations and I’m finding rack elevations in designs are really important in terms of functionality because sometimes we do small racks. We think of racks typically as this old floor mounted thing that stand 6 feet high full of stuff but with a PoE lighting solution, your rack elevations could be 2 or 3 if you are going with a distributed power system. So, how you are laying out the racks and how those racks are being populated is really important.

Then you want to talk about a Reflected Ceiling Plan (RCP) or Plan view. You need to now also give orientation for the products. The idea of this is you are looking down on the product. Where does the light picture sit with respect to the sensor? With respect to the camera? With respect to the other lights in the room? Those are all things now that are going to become part of the drawing set that you need to deal with whether it’s in division 26 or division 27. 

The Spec Section is an important one. I’m going to ask you, Matt. Where does the programming or functionality of the whole system usually get documented?

[Matt] I’ve seen it both places. I’ve seen it on the RCP drawings, where the engineer might make a matrix that calls out the sequence of operations in the space. Other times, I’ll see it in the written specifications. We have a boilerplate specification, where underneath those boilerplate specs are where those additional performance requirements may be. The general consensus is that the more you can get on your e-sheets, the more likely that it’s going to be caught than if it’s buried on a section 26 or 27 document. 

[Tyler] I agree, and I would say lean on your supplier, like Igor. I’m going to challenge BICSI in general, and other lighting solutions: could we come together and offer standard programming? Can we get a simplified, common language? We do so much with it that it can get confusing, but if we had a common language, that we could all share, that would make it much easier. 

The final thing is the lighting plan. The other thing you need to think about now is the server room. You now need to reconsider the server room to help coordinate with people, whether the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and architectural drawings. You need to think about how to access the server room. Can building maintenance access the room? Can managers get in there? How do you control that? Do you have enough AC power to that room because now you are moving the power from the field to the location, but you need to make sure you have enough power for cooling and backup power. Do you have backup power? And cooling – you need to have better cooling. 

[Matt] We work with our partners on BTU calculations as well so if there’s ever a time where you can create an opportunity and you need assistance working through these processes and challenges, of course PoE Texas is a great place to start, also Igor will be glad to help you and your client along the way.


Did you miss Igor on the latest Converge PoE Live Stream?


Watch Here