What is "Future Proof" Video/Phone/Data Cabling: This will ensure that your home will be cabled to support future "Digital Services" that will be offered by Phone/Internet/Cable/Satellite providers. "Interactive Systems Cabling" is the current phrase utilized to describe Digital Residential Gateway future proof cabling. This type of installation will converge video, voice and data digital services, allowing the homeowner to easily utilize and interconnect between all future digital service applications within their home. Satellite companies will offer phone and data services, phone companies will offer video services, cable companies will offer in-line modem data options, computer companies will offer high-end audio and video capabilities, etc. All of these digital services will arrive in the home via a Digital Residential Gateway. All home cabling should be "head-ended" in distribution panels that will serve as interface panels to the Digital Residential Gateway.
In preparation for the Digital Residential Gateway and Residential Digital Services, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Electronics Industry Association (EIA) have been tasked by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish the cabling standards required for residential applications. The current standard is the "TIA/EIA-570A". The FCC has also tasked the TIA/EIA to work with electronics and computer industry representatives to complete the design standard for the Digital Residential Gateway.
I recommend that both your builder and cable installer be fully aware of the requirements found in the TIA/EIA-570A Standard and that your system designer/installer be trained and certified to install the newly emerging entertainment system products designed to provide interactive convergent applications and performance standards. This will be the only way you will be assured that the cabling architecture in your new home will be capable of receiving, handling and distributing future digital services. "Future Proof" cabling will be the smartest investment you can make in assuring that you will be able to fully enjoy the investment made in your new home and that it will be "marketable" in tomorrow's digital services environment!
As surprising as it may seem, 70% of the homes being built as of January 1, 2001 are being cabled with 1960's architecture! There will be some upset homeowners in the next few years when they find that their new home investment will require recabling to receive full digital service options and have system interconnect capability.
The four key elements to ensure that your cabling will fully support Digital Services are:
1. Utilize the highest bandwidth cable currently available;
2. Utilize a "Star" topology providing individual runs to each room;
3. Have the capability to "interconnect" between the various service providers;
4. Ensure that all interconnect products (video splitters, combiners, amplifiers and phone/data termination jacks and plugs) are capable of supporting the required digital service bandwidth. System capability will be determined by your weakest link!