Tallest apartment block gets Ethernet fit-out

Residents and businesses in the Surfers Paradise Q1 resort apartments have the luxury of symmetric Ethernet data services for converged voice and data.

Claimed to be the world's tallest residential apartment building, Q1 has more than 500 rooms on 80 floors, a retail and restaurant concourse, and a 30-end-point corporate LAN.

Q1 owners outsourced the design, implementation, and management of the network to local integrator Data FX.

Daniel Thompson, chief operating officer of Data FX, said previous success with Ethernet and fibre backbone throughout hotel rooms was extended to Q1, where the one, two, and three bedroom apartments can fluctuate between permanent residents and hotel guests.

"They get a better value proposition to DSL," Thompson said, adding the only complex part was getting the switching right.

The uplink is a 10MB microwave connection to the integrator's head office in Surfers Paradise which can scale to gigabit "if necessary". There is also a backup DSL service.

The network consists of 27 Nortel Networks' 470 series edge switches with gigabit modules and three 1600 series core switches.

Data FX put together one plan, a 512K/512K symmetrical service with a static IP, unlimited downloads and no shaping. "People are not running IP telephony, but we are providing a separate service," Thompson said. "That is a [possibility] moving forward as we put the foundation infrastructure in."

The building also has traditional TDM phone lines in the rooms and PowerTel is providing all basic landline calls, with Telstra being considered for a backup arrangement.

"With Ethernet it's easier to provide QoS to calls than with DSL," Thompson said. "It was a relatively fast installation and we had good assistance from the Nortel engineering team to apply ports to rooms and allocate bandwidth."

Thompson said we "wrote a few scripts" on the switches and rolled out the solution, which took 120 hours in total.

Thompson said the rooms need flexible functionality for different users.

"A permanent resident may move out and put the room into the hotel [for rent], so we can transform this with the billing application, [because] we aren't signing end users to contracts," he said. "There is also credit card and property management system integration, which integrates with the hotel billing system."

For now, there are up to 10 wireless access points servicing the observation deck, foyer and lobby.

The network can scale to 10M or even gigabit to the rooms if required.

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