The telecommunications industry is perpetually evolving, and optical fiber networks are becoming the technology of choice with the growing demand for high-speed mobile connectivity. In this blog, we will explore the importance of optical fiber networks and how they shape the telecom industry’s future.
What is Optical Fiber Network?
An optical network is a data communication network built with optical fiber technology. It utilizes optical fiber cables as the primary communication medium for transmitting data as light pulses between sender and receiver nodes.
Fibermap Optic Network Design Software
An optical network is one of the fastest communication networks. It works by using an optical transmitter device to convert an electrical signal received from a network node into light pulses, which are then placed on a fiber optic cable for transport to a receiving device.
Usually, optical fiber networks use thin glass or plastic fibers to transmit data in light signals. Optical fiber networks provide much higher bandwidth, lower latency, and improved signal quality than traditional copper cables. This makes them ideal for supporting the growing demands of the digital economy, including high-speed internet access, video streaming, and cloud computing.
Moreover, the light pulses of an optical network may be transported quite a distance until the vibrations are regenerated through an optical repeater device. After a signal is delivered to a destination network, it is converted into an electrical signal through an optical receiver device and sent to a recipient node.
The Future of Fiber
Ubiquitous, high-speed, and low-latency networks will require deep fibers and high densification. The network endpoints will surge due to increasing FTTx penetration, 5G (10-20x small cells per macro cell), and IoT (up to 10 devices per person) technologies ramping up.
With demand for fiber expected to snowball as fast as 4G and 5G networks are rolled out and new-age technologies such as IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, cloud computing, etc., become commonplace, the Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) industry is on a roll.
But let’s first understand what fiber planning is and why efficient network planning is necessary for the telecommunications industry.
Fiber optic network design refers to the specialized processes leading to a successful installation and operation of a fiber optic network. It includes first determining the type of communication system(s) to be carried over the web, the geographic layout (premises, campus, outside plant (OSP, etc.), the transmission equipment required, and the fiber network over which it will operate. Designing a fiber optic network usually requires interfacing with other networks, which may be connected over copper cabling and wireless.
Next to consider are requirements for permits, easements, permissions, and inspections. Once we get to that stage, we can consider actual component selection, placement, installation practices, testing, troubleshooting, and network equipment installation and startup. Finally, we have to view documentation, maintenance, and planning for restoration in the event of a future outage.
The network design should precede not only the installation but also the estimated cost of the project and the contractor’s bid on the job.
Even before the network has been built, decisions are made that will determine essential aspects of its future operations and maintenance. Therefore, a well-considered and consistent network strategy is the best basis for efficient operation and maintenance. The strategy should cover all aspects of how the network will be built and extended, including the network topology and architecture, the design rules, and the choice of equipment. During the strategic planning phase, the network operator decides how the network will be built. There is much more to consider than just the initial investment.
Telecom Inventory Management
Although it is vital to reduce the CAPEX because of its impact on the viability of the business case, the OPEX should also be carefully considered. For every deployment, the operator should evaluate how this would affect the cost of future operation and maintenance processes, such as customer provisioning, network maintenance and repair, and how easily the network could be extended and upgraded.
Scope of Lepton Software in Optical Fiber Network Planning, Inventory Management & Analysis
Outside plant installations depend heavily on maps and data about the cable plant route. This can include primary data on the local geology, locations of roads, buildings, underground, aerial utilities, etc. For example, the type of ground along the route can determine the methods of underground installation, with deep soil permitting direct burial, other soils requiring trenching and conduit, and rocky areas precluding underground facilities of any type. Aerial installations must be based on knowledge of the owners of the poles and the processes necessary to gain permission to use the poles and make them ready for new cable installations.
Lepton’s NetworkAccess (NA) & SmartInventory (SI) are GIS analysis & inventory management platforms created with very detailed & high precision Google maps. Moreover, it can be customized per user requirements for planning and research. It is web-based & can be accessible over the internet. It does not depend on the system hardware, nor does it require additional software installation.
NetworkAccess for Planning
NetworkAccess tool has vital datasets such as geographical data, building data, roads, crossings, railways, landmarks, soil type data, locality & population data available with PIN codes, Tehasils, villages, cities, districts & state boundaries. The data is used for the desktop planning of fiber networks that will reduce the Time, Cost, and Manpower requirement for field Surveys. The centralized planning team can monitor field surveys with the help of Lepton’s WorkForce Management (WFM) mobile-based application Smart Patroller. This will help finalize the fiber network plan with pinpoint accuracy.
While planning, we have to consider the existing fiber network of the same operator, other operators, other underground cables, pipelines, power lines, etc. With the help of NetworkAccess, it becomes convenient to plan.
SmartInventory for Network Inventory Management
A more significant challenge for telcos is managing their field inventory. Even though it is available to some, it’s not accessible to all. The problem also arises when multiple stakeholders carry & manage multiple entities of a single network. Lepton’s SmartInventory tool is specially designed to overcome similar issues.
It has every network component & the inventory is available over the GIS platform. As-built fiber layouts, chambers, manholes, Joint-closures, documents like requests, permissions, legal authority letters, ROW letters, Site-data like Tower locations, shelters, racks, equipment, cards, antennas & connectivity details are available. Microwave details, backhaul details, POP locations & every minute details are also available on the Geo-based platform. It can be accessible to every stakeholder responsible for maintaining and managing the inventory. This helps analyze, understand, operate, support, and update network changes more efficiently.
Get in touch with us to learn more about fiber optic networks and Network Inventory management!