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Dallas Programmer Credits Access Networks with Improved Efficiency

By RS Staff March 27,2013




Troy Morgan has faced a lot of home automation programming challenges over the past 15-plus years. While the various ways that a project can become troubling are numerous, many of his most common headaches have involved the home network.
 
Troy Morgan’s programming firm, PanTech Design, prides itself on customer service, and he wanted integrator Dallas Extreme’s first experience with his company to exceed its expectations.
 
“We’ve been doing this for a very long time and we’ve dealt with just about every kind of scenario possible,” said Morgan, president at Dallas-based programming firm PanTech Design. “There are always challenges with getting a system up and running, but where most companies lose money is when they hit an issue with the network. When you have an unstable or unproven network configuration, the time you spend working through that problem can quickly cause a project to go way beyond expectations and that’s where you can easily lose money on a job.”
 
When custom integrator Dallas Extreme approached PanTech Design to handle programming for a large Crestron system in a 15,000-square-foot home in Dallas, Morgan took it upon himself to go out to the jobsite to prepare the site for code. Morgan’s firm prides itself on customer service, and he wanted Dallas Extreme’s first experience with PanTech Design to exceed expectations.
 
Prepared for Anything
Heading into the project, Morgan prepared for a job’s typical challenges, but onsite he discovered that Dallas Extreme had integrated a pre-programmed, enterprise-grade network solution from Access Networks, which led to an eye-opening experience.
 
“When I went out to the jobsite on the first day, I expected the preparation to take approximately three days,” Morgan said. “Instead, I was done in six hours. We estimated the commissioning of the project to take three weeks, and we completed it from start to finish in four days.”
 
The project featured Access Networks’ Unity Network, which includes enterprise-grade network VLAN’s, best-practice QoS/Traffic Prioritization, all delivered to the integrator pre-programmed and ready for plug-and-play deployment.
 
This project featured Access Networks’ Unity Network, which includes enterprise-grade network VLAN’s, best-practice QoS/Traffic Prioritization, all delivered to the integrator pre-programmed and ready for plug-and-play deployment. In addition to the equipment itself, every Access Networks solution comes with a three-year-warranty and a lifetime subscription to Access’ +FM monitoring software.
 
This IT infrastructure helped support a home featuring 21 rooms of stereo audio distribution, 13 video displays, eight CCTV cameras, 10 15-inch Crestron TPMC-V15 touchscreen controllers, one Crestron V-24R-C 24-inch touchscreen control, iPad control, iPhone control, eight Crestron MLX-3 hand-held remotes, eight zones of HVAC control, four Kaleidscape media players, eight DirecTV HD DVRs, pool control, and security control.
 
PanTech Design takes prides in its reputation for effectively estimating the scope of any project quickly and accurately, Morgan noted. But this was the first time his company was able to complete a project of this size so quickly.
 IT Infrastructure Summary
Main House:
Total useable gigabit ports: 92
Total usable gigabit PoE ports: 7
Total usable ports: 99
9 x Indoor Dual-Band Access Points
2 x Outdoor Dual-Band Access Points 
Studio:
Total useable gigabit ports: 46
Total usable gigabit PoE ports: 41
Total usable ports: 87
5 x Indoor Dual-Band Access Points
1 x Outdoor Dual-Band Access Point 
Pool House:
Total usable gigabit PoE ports: 46
1 x Indoor Dual-Band Access Points 
Summer House:
Total usable gigabit PoE ports: 22
1 x Indoor Dual-Band Access Points
1 x Outdoor Dual-Band Access Point
 
Total access points: 16x Indoor Dual-Band, 4x Outdoor Dual-Band 
“I attribute a large part of that success to the network built by Access Networks,” he said. “We had no previous experience with an Access Networks system, so I didn’t know what to expect. I soon learned that because their approach to system design is so detailed and documented, integrating the network into the home was extremely efficient for the dealer and programmer.”
 
Documentation was Essential
PanTech Design found that its own meticulous approach to documentation and outlining expectations on a project was matched by Access Networks’ own process. The networking specialists worked closely with Dallas Extreme to determine the exact networking needs on the project.
 
“We asked them an array of very specific questions, including the size of the home, [number of] rooms, how many Ethernet ports, building elements, and so on until we understood completely what would be needed in the network,” confirmed Aaron Gutin, vice president of sales and marketing for Access Networks. “Not having that full understanding of what will be required of the network is where most dealers fail in planning a system.”
 
Considerations were made for square footage, building materials, outdoor areas, the number of connected devices, as well as allowing for separate buildings on the property to be connected to each other via fiber. Once the full needs of the project were understood, Access Networks implemented its detailed approach to the design of the network and then provided Dallas Extreme with the pre-programmed hardware for the home.
 
Working closely with Dallas Extreme, the Access Networks design team crafted a solution that provided the project with a complete gigabit infrastructure, multiple-VLANs, best-practice QoS/Traffic Prioritization, a centrally managed, self-healing wireless solution and a host of advanced routing and switching features specifically implemented to support the automation system deployed.
 
“I asked the guys at Dallas Extreme what they had to do to get the network up and they said ‘We just plugged it in,’” Morgan recalled.