Light Reading

Cisco Goes Green in Hearst Tower

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is showing off a massive new WiFi win at the recently-completed Hearst Tower in the heart of NYC, which has just become the first skyscraper in the Big Apple to be awarded "green" status by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The networking giant is providing WiFi coverage across the 46 floors of the Midtown Manhattan tower -- a gross area of 856,000 square feet in total -- with over 288 thin access points installed, covering 2000 employees. Unstrung visited the distinctive glass-fronted tower yesterday to see how the network has been put together.

James Bazzano, senior network engineer for information services at Hearst Magazines, says that in general the firm has installed eight APs per floor but not all the floors are the same layout. The APs are managed and secured via four Cisco 4404 WLAN controllers setup N+1 failover configuration. Each 4404 unit can handle up to 100 APs on its own.

The APs are 802.11b/g units that operate over 2.4GHz band. "That choice was driven by the antennas," explains Carl Cagney, director of technical services at information services for Hearst. For the publishing house decided that it didn't want to install APs in the ceilings of the new building but rather use a distributed antenna system (DAS) to shuttle both WiFi and cellular signals around the building.

Cisco worked with MobileAccess Networks to synchronize its WiFi system with the firm's DAS product, which is designed to carry multiple-carrier cellular and WLAN signals. Hearst has Cingular Wireless , T-Mobile US Inc. , and Verizon Wireless boxes in its data center.

The WiFi signals for each floor are routed over the antenna system -- which resembles a small light fixture without a bulb -- to and from the APs that are stored in a wiring closet on each floor. Traffic is routed back to the centralized controllers in the data center over co-ax cables.

Alan Cohen, senior director of mobility solutions at Cisco, notes that deploying the APs in this fashion should make it easier to upgrade to new WiFi standards than if the radio nodes had been installed in the ceiling. "When 802.11n is available in 2008 or 2009, you can just replace these," he says, pointing to the neat cluster of APs in the wiring closet.

Hearst's Bazzano says that the firm did look at other WiFi providers such as Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) for the deployment but went with Cisco because of the ability to unify different types of traffic on the network and its work with MobileAccess to allow their products to synchronize.

"We've got a little bit of code on their boxes and they've got a little bit on ours," says Cohen.

Even the scale of the WiFi network, however, which Cohen says may be the largest "contiguous" enterprise 802.11 deployment yet, pales in comparison to the effort to make the Hearst Tower a "green building."

In his office, looking out into Midtown and the Hudson River, VP of communications and executive director of corporate communications at Hearst, Paul Luthringer, explains that architect Norman Foster used a triangular "diagrid" frame to complete the tower, which sits atop the shell of the original six-storey 1926 Hearst building.

The frame uses 20 percent less steel than conventional perimeter frames. The construction also utilizes low-emission windows and low-vapor paint. Recycled and sustainable furniture and carpets have been used throughout and rainwater is collected in 14,000 gallon tanks in the building's basement and used to help keep it cool over the summer.

The low-emisssion windows, which are designed to retain heat during the winter months and reflect it out in the summer, have one useful benefit for the WLAN network. "They keep the signal from bleeding out," Cohen notes.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:50 AM
re: Cisco Goes Green in Hearst Tower
Guess that gives new meaning to multi-in, multi-out.

Can someone give us a sanity check on whether a DAS can support 802.11n or not? That's the first I've heard of the possibility.

At Airespace is was MISO after further inspection - what will the acronym be this time? DIDO?
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:42 AM
re: Cisco Goes Green in Hearst Tower
I'll post the response to this question from Cellular Specialties here shortly.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Light Reading's conference in November will attempt to answer all of the big questions around white box networks. No pressure...
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Close-up on ConfD

10|12|15   |   10.21   |   (0) comments

Tail-f's Renée Robinson-Stromberg tells Steve Saunders about the powerful ConfD management interface.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Women in Comms: Highlights From Dallas

10|12|15   |   2:23   |   (1) comment

The best soundbites, quotes and words of wisdom from leading women from Intel, AT&T, Verizon and Genband at our recent WiC breakfast in Dallas.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
NetNumber Founder on Managing Signaling Control

10|12|15   |   6:36   |   (0) comments

NetNumber Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Doug Ranalli describes the essential complexity of real-world signaling-control and how NetNumber enables carriers to bring signaling-control "under-control". Learn why virtualization alone isn't the answer.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon Gets Proactive on App Performance

10|12|15   |   04:50   |   (0) comments

SDN is turning traditional service models around to allow Verizon to measure and deliver performance at the application layer. As Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and managed solutions for Verizon, explains, the carrier had to develop new skill sets and change some of its internal operations, but the payoff was happier enterprise customers.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (1) comment

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Dell Buys EMC for $67B in Biggest Tech Deal Ever
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/12/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Think NFV is just about virtualization? Think again!

Network architects are learning that there's a lot more to the technology than first thought – more complexity, that is; but also, more potential benefits.

On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM, HP Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!