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100 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 TECHNOLOGY DIY Fiber Estimating This sequel to "DIY Fiber Mapping" shows how to develop a quick cost estimate that can either close a deal or end an inquiry by eliciting sticker shock. By Jason Longenecker / New Light Technologies T he May-June 2016 issue of Broad B and Communities featured an article on DIY fiber mapping. In this second and final part of the "DIY" series, I will explain how to use the route measurements derived in the mapping process as inputs into cost estimates for proposed fiber network extensions. I will present a quick-and-dirty method, a slightly cleaner method and a more professional method for producing cost estimates for fiber routes. RECAPPING DIY FIBER MAPPING e point of a ballpark estimate is to qualify a lead before investing significantly into design and planning. A ballpark estimate is most effective when it takes the least amount of effort and has the quickest turnaround compared with a complete design and professional estimate. In the end, a ballpark estimate should either close a deal or elicit sticker shock. Estimated linear measurements for the underground and aboveground distances a fiber route may travel are essential metrics for completing an outside-plant (OSP) bill of materials worksheet. You'll need a mapping tool to capture these measurements. e previous article illustrated mapping with Google My Maps because it is simple, available on desktop and mobile platforms and, most important, free. To use Google My Maps for mapping a route, start by creating a map and importing the access points from which fiber routes will originate. Next, identify problem areas and strategic areas on the map so engineers can design routes that avoid or gravitate to these areas. en, map routes by manually drawing the line on the map and/or using the driving directions tools. Finally, use any of a variety of tools to measure the distances of the underground and aboveground segments. REALITY CHECK ough the last article showed in detail how to estimate underground and aboveground distances, it didn't discuss the pros and cons of different measurement methods. Whether you measure a proposed route on a map or a completed cable route using its optical properties, be aware of the differences among these methods. Measuring as the crow flies. Drawing a straight line between two points on a map is an ill-advised way to calculate route distance. Although it takes less effort than any other method of calculating distance, it ignores the natural terrain and will have a gross margin of error. Measuring the GIS distance. Drawing a multipoint line on a map that respects public rights-of-way and measuring that line with common GIS tools is an acceptable way to capture the basic route distance. However, it does not account for the physical properties of the cables that the lines represent. Calculating the engineered distance. A professional OSP engineer is responsible for designing all aspects of the routes to meet requirements. e engineer is tasked with