BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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56 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | OCTOBER 2016 TECHNOLOGY Fiber indexing enables a flexible, resilient network design. Financing the Fiber Migration Fiber indexing, a new approach to access network design, improves the business case for FTTH by reducing deployment costs, enabling wireless-to-fiber transitional strategies and supporting the delivery of multiple services on a single network. By Trevor Smith and Jamie Birdnow / CommScope N etwork operators around the globe are migrating from copper to fiber. In doing so, they are encountering high costs for designing and deploying fiber in access networks. Network builders and operators need to find ways to expand and upgrade their networks without breaking the bank. Fortunately, new technologies and practices offer ways to bring down the cost of fiber deployment and increase revenue from fiber investments. FINANCIAL CHALLENGES In deploying any networking technology, return on investment is the name of the game. e challenge is to return enough revenue to make a profit. Costs include materials (fiber and electronics) and installation, a large part of which includes civil works (trenching, pole placement, permitting and so forth). Typically, the cost breakdown is half to two-thirds of the total for installation and the rest for materials. In most cases, a network is built for a specific service, such as FTTH, business-to- business broadband or network densification, but operators should think about how they can further monetize these networks to improve their business cases. Improving business cases starts with finding ways to reduce construction and operations costs. Equipment costs have come down over the past 10 years, and opex is dropping, thanks in part to the implementation of software-defined networking and network function virtualization technologies. What has not changed significantly is the network architecture and the construction process. ARCHITECTURE CHOICES To some extent, network design is dictated by deployment location. Urban and suburban deployments are typically underground, and rural deployments rely more heavily on aerial plant. Design also depends on the deployment technology used, as is the case when optimizing RF signals and wireless networks. For instance, the amount of fiber needed in a small-cell deployment may depend on how many frequencies and sectors are being used, the types of radios deployed and how many operators are to be supported. As next- generation wireless technologies such as C-R AN and 5G radios move forward, the needs may change again, so designs need to be flexible. If a deployment includes business services, point-to- point Ethernet or even wavelength services may need to be supported. Beyond location and technology, network architecture can have a big impact on deployment costs. Traditionally, network engineers measure span lengths, then run fiber cables and splice them together to complete segments that pass