Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

A 22 hectare resort on the beach at beautiful Byron Bay needed a fibre optic approach to handle long cable runs and a multitude of IP based systems.


Q. Before we get into the technical issues, can you explain the meaning behind the name of this property”?

A. It’s been explained like this: “There is an emerging and strong desire to reconnect with nature in an authentic way; a way that reminds us we are human, flesh and blood, sensual and soulful. Places where our soul can play, that touch us and remind us of our essential humanity.” This is the architectural ethos that has shaped Elements of Byron… can we move on to the technical stuff now?

Q. What unique technical issues presented themselves with this particular property?

A. There is a limit to the distance that Ethernet can be run over cat6/7 cable. It’s about 100m. As this is a resort-style property with bountiful space between the dwellings, we had to consider alternatives to traditional copper. The second area of interest was the integration of a myriad of TCP/IP based services that required connectivity across the network.

Q. Lets cover the long distance issues first. How did you approach this problem?

A. There is robust discussion in the hospitality industry regarding the merits of the implementation of GPON networks in hotels. While we don’t necessarily believe that GPON should be a default position in all cases, it certainly was appropriate in this site because of the distance factor.

Q. What is GPON?

A. GPON is anacronym for Gigabit Passive Optical Networking. It’s a technology used by some of the largest Telco’s in the world for connecting large numbers of sites over an optical network with much of the equipment being of a passive (non-powered) nature. As there are fewer parts/components in the system, reliability is improved and theoretically support costs are reduced.

Q. Can you describe how GPON was used at Elements of Byron?

A. We used GPON equipment from Huawei as the fibre backbone to each of the 103 private villas as well as a number of other areas. The device that plugs onto the end of the fibre then provides traditional copper Ethernet ports for connectivity to the various IP devices such as AP’s VoIP phones etc. We also distribute traditional PoE switches around the main hotel admin building.

Q. You mentioned a multitude of IP-based services. Can you elaborate on this?

A. Apart from the Wi-Fi, were asked to provide connectivity for the following systems:

  • Guest Room Management System incorporating HVAC, lighting and blind control
  • IP Audio/PA
  • Electricity usage monitoring
  • Building Management System
  • Door Locks via Zigbee wireless protocol
  • The administration network
  • Property Management System
  • IPTV
  • VoIP

The way we physically connected these services in the guest rooms was to use a Ruckus H500 Wall plate in each room. Along with some spare ports on the Optical Networking Terminal (ONT), these devices deliver high speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as providing 4 x RJ45 Ethernet ports for connecting VoIP phones (via PoE), Smart TV’s, several wired Ethernet ports and the GRMS.

The challenge with this is that we need to provide robust connectivity that is secure and non-threatening to other services on the network – particularly the guest Wi-Fi experience.  We find it quite common now that builders, electrical contractors and some of the vendors of these systems all seem to be blissfully unaware that underneath all of these applications there needs to be a solid, IP network and someone to bolt it all together and make it work.   We are that company.

Technical Specifications

40 Mbps ISP connection delivered by P2P Microwave link. Delivered from Microwave tower to Comms room by fibre
Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 Wireless Controller
HP Core and Edge switches
Approx 150 Ruckus H500 and T300 Access Points
GX2 HSIA Gateway Appliance
GX2 Uninterruptible Power Supply
GX2 24/7 Guest Support