Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2017

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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MAY/JUNE 2017 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 65 easier and more accurate because all departments involved in the restoration can use a single database. As a new circuit is digitized, priority assignments can be created and linked to outside-plant facilities. When a cut outside fiber is repaired, the technician can reference a circuit priority report created by the database for a restoration repair hierarchy. You can't look at a fiber strand and see the OC-48 backbone riding on it, but on a restoration report, you can. Rapid circuit restoration avoids costly fines, a tarnished company image and community vulnerability. REPORTS Save the planet, save the trees, save the money spent on printer ink. e right software enables the creation of reports in an electronic form directly from a project. Digitizing a network creates a database whose elements can be configured to any type of report. ink of each piece of data as a Lego block – use the blocks to build a racecar today and a space shuttle tomorrow. Circuits data can yield several key reports. For example, a comprehensive report of the entire circuit database, filtered by equipment, would show which vendor's equipment is best suited to the network. Another key report could help resolve the "minivan vs. Mini Cooper" debate: To transport several people over a short distance, one minivan is better than several Mini Coopers. (ough it may work for clowns, in the circuits circus, shoving all the circuits into one small vehicle is not an option.) However, if one or two people need to travel a long distance, the Mini Cooper is more efficient. Managing circuits can follow the same logic, so reporting data can help determine whether coarse or dense wave-division multiplexing is more appropriate. A report using circuits data joined with workforce tracking data can show how much capital time is spent on billable services. is type of report can show which geographic areas need more or less coverage and help redistribute assets as needed. All these reports can make a circuit network, and a company as a whole, far more efficient. ONE CENTRAL SOURCE Imagine you are starving and get in your car to drive to Arby's for a delicious roast beef sandwich. As you drive along, the road abruptly stops. Now you have to park your car and catch a bus to continue on your path. e bus takes you a mile from the restaurant, leaving you to ride a bicycle to complete your journey and satisfy your hunger. Sounds absurd, doesn't it? For a telephone company to use different software sources for each department is just as absurd. For example, if each piece of information needed to fulfill a request for a DS1 is housed within a different application, the telephone company is just like the famished person trying in vain to reach a meal. ings could be even more complicated if, at each stop, a different person is required to complete the next leg, relay-style. What if there were a single source everyone could reference, akin to a single paved road in the analogy? No more stopping and starting, jumping from one software application to another or trying to create a single path. Instead, fulfilling the customer's request for a DS1 would be greatly simplified. Having a single circuit and network database solution eliminates disorganization and creates harmony across a company. It prevents toes from being stepped on – and as we all know, those little piggies can be sensitive. A central source for circuits also keeps data accurate. e foundation data for a new client's circuits project already comes from diverse sources. I have mined information from traditional engineering software such as AutoCAD and from notes scribbled on a napkin. Too often, circuits material is stored in a single person's memory. Digitizing with comprehensive software extracts all the relevant pieces of information, eliminating discrepancies, breakdowns and missing segments. is is especially critical when a circuit is modified or changed. A digitized circuit can be referenced to see not only the modification but also the date the circuit was changed and who was responsible. THE BIG PICTURE Mapping and digitizing circuits reveals a picture of the network at large. Keeping circuit information in piece- by-piece diagrams makes it almost impossible to see how the circuits join together to form a larger network. Imagine trying to travel across the country using only county-level maps. You would have a difficult time seeing where you were or how far away your destination was. Similarly, tracking a transport ring can be accomplished by pulling each node-to-node layout document, but seeing that ring mapped out using a fiber network gives a user a clearer birds-eye view. With all the benefits the right software can bring, why not take your network to the competitive level and digitize? Leading-edge practices are the lifeblood of a successful telecom company, just as new acts are for a circus. To keep existing customers and draw in new customers, it's imperative to stay relevant. Once the digitized network is in place, grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the circuits circus! v Rachel Gulliksen is a technical analyst at Mapcom Systems, whose M4 Solutions Suite helps communications service providers manage their networks and workforces. She has worked in telecommunications for more than 20 years and can be reached at rgulliksen@ Rapid circuit restoration avoids costly fines, a tarnished company image and community vulnerability.

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