The customer connection of one house tend to be very similar to how the neighboring house is connected. Designing this part of the network can thus be a repetitive process, and that opens up the possibility to automate the process. In dpCom, this is implemented in a number of time-saving tools that can be combined to create a fully connected access network.
If adequate road information is available in the background map, dpCom can automatically create a topology of ditches that connect a set of customer nodes to a feeding point. This topology will take road types into account, and the user can specify the relative costs along the road, crossing the road, and for the route from the side of the road to the customer node.
In addition to the automatic generation of the ditch topology, a semi-automatic tool can be used to connect all customer nodes on the side of a road in one command, designate a set of road crossing points and connect them in one step, define a set of points at the border of the customer premise and connect those to the ditch along the road, as well as other actions.
These mechanisms described above are not limited to ditch-based topologies; the same tools can generate an aerial infrastructure.
Once the basic ditch or aerial infrastructure is in place, dpCom can automatically generate the fully-connected network with pipes/ducts/multiducts, cables and the termination (e.g. CPE) in the customer nodes, as well as the splicing to the feeding cable. This automatic generation supports several build sets, including multiducts, direct buried, direct duct, or ducts/multiducts without cables.
The result of this automatic network construction is a set of standard dpCom objects, the same object types are used in the documented network. This means the objects can immediately be used by all dpCom tools and functions, just as if they had been created manually.
Any combination of the automatic tools and manual placement can be used to build the network. Since the created-network design is done in the same system as the as-built documentation, the designed network can be connected to the existing network and the intended design can be fully analyzed, taking the whole network into account.
The modelling of a physical telecommunications network is not just a question of knowing where the cables and lines are outlined in the geography, having access to patching details in the central office, or knowing which customer belongs to a given port in the access switch. This is equally true whether the network is copper, coax, optical fibers, or any combination thereof,
The key to success is to use a system that handles the whole hierarchy of the physical network as one information system. dpCom uses its GIS platform as a basis for documenting the geographical layout of the network. This includes the nodes and all their interconnecting routes, as well as the physical locations of cabinets, manholes, poles, buildings etc. The routes (which can be over or under ground) are then filled with protective pipes or ducts; in those you will find sub-pipes, microducts, or prefabricated multiducts. The next level in the hierarchy is the cable level. Cables in turn, contain fibers, copper threads, or coax. All of this could be described as outside plant information.
A corresponding hierarchy is represented in connectivity and termination nodes. A node can contain cabinets, distribution frames, routers, switches, splice closures, CPEs, etc. This forms the inside plant information. The elements inside the nodes are connected with the incoming pipes, cables and fibers/threads in order to form a complete connected network.
An object in dpCom is a combination of a number of components:
Different kinds of descriptive information, e.g. color, material, dimension(s), manufacturer/maker, or other data relevant to the specific kind of object
Geographic information, i.e. coordinates, and the geographical layout (line, polygon, point etc.) of the object
Graphical information defining how the object is visualized in maps, auto-layouts, reports, and diagrams
Links representing connections between objects, e.g. the connection between a fiber (or rather the endpoint of the same) and a contact in an ODF
Links representing aggregations or parent-child relations, e.g. a route contains pipes and the pipes can contain cables
Other kinds of links, e.g. describing relationships between customers and services.
An important advantage of this object structure is that it enables a large degree of flexibility and customization without the need to modify the core structure. Highly configurable representations of network information can be presented in the map view. One view, for example, could show routes and nodes with the contents as automatic text labels. Another view could show pipes and/or cables, represented by individual lines. All views are based on the same underlying data.
The business aspect is modelled in a similar way, taking its start from the connected physical network.
Services for dark fiber, WDM wavelength, capacity, etc., are linked to one or more physical paths, described technically and commercially, and can be linked to customers.
In dpCom, the starting point is the fully-connected physical network. On top of one or more physical paths, logical information is added that handles different aspects of multiplexing and channels, e.g. xWDM, SDH, VLAN/QinQ, etc.
The process of connecting a single, new customer is very different from a larger building project.
The process needs to be streamlined and rely heavily on a detailed knowledge about the affected parts of the network. Several dpCom tools assist the people involved in this process.
Finding the shortest path with available resources between the new customer node and the applicable meet-me point is done in a single command. If fiber or copper level connection can be established using patching, a dedicated tool will do that step-by step in one GUI. If a connection is specified to be made as a redundant pair, the second part is verified interactively while building and/or as a verification command.
The sister product of dpCom, dpWholesale, handles the business process of a B2B capacity or dark-fiber service.
Capacity and bottleneck analysis
Objects like cables can be analyzed for available capacity. This analysis can be presented in the map using colorization or in tabular formats. The path and connection finder described above can be combined with capacity analysis to understand the real capacity potential between parts of the network.
Structured and spontaneous inspections
The dpCom inspections module covers the whole range, from structured interval-based inspections on certain kinds of equipment (e.g. UPS, manhole lids, poles) with well-defined questionnaires, to spontaneous reports on a problem found while doing other types of field work. In both cases, the reports are made in a structured way, actions are defined for fixing problems, and the inspection results are searchable and available for planning further work.
An inspection can be made part of a planned inspection round, which includes tasks, activities, resources, and responsible persons.
Network Technologies, Network Topologies
In most new network designs, fiber is the focus. Still, CATV and the traditional telephony network will continue to play an important role, and copper-based Ethernet will be in use for some time. dpCom has support for fiber and several variants of copper-based technologies (coax, TP, and ethernet), as well as the ability to manage the individual threads, p2p radio links, and radio access points.
Fiber networks comes in several flavors. Pure fiber network topologies include p2p, active ethernet, and variants of PON. In order to reuse the final parts of copper networks, the “x” in FTTx can be replaced by Curb, Node, Building, or Premise. Another option is HFC, where the CATV network is used to deliver the customer connections. dpCom contains the building blocks to represent all of these flavors as well as copper-only networks.
The content of a physical network is frequently described in terms of two parts: inside plant (ISP) and outside plant (OSP). dpCom makes no distinction between the two, and manages all of the objects that could be said to belong to the ISP or OSP in the same way. This means, for example, that a fiber cable in a ditch is the same object type as a fiber cable running between two racks in a large distribution node.
A network change could be anything from making a midspan in a manhole to the move of a cross-connection node to a new place.
In either case, dpCom includes a number of functions that makes that work more reliable and more efficient.
Network changes are always done in a two-step approach. In the first step, all changes are stored in the database as a change set (a.k.a. long transaction). This means the user is able to change the network without any effect on the master data. The user can analyze the changes, simulate behavior, and do peer review to be sure the network will be in good shape after the changes.
Based on the network represented in the change set, all of blueprints for the real work will reflect the as-planned network. Changes will be posted as soon as they are physically performed, thus keeping documentation constantly up to date.
Many routine, real-world operations are efficiently handled by dpCom. As an example, a midspan dpCom basically a sequence of three commands. First the cover of the cable is cut (including an automatic creation of a splice box), then a number of fibers are cut, and finally some or all of those fibers are spliced to some or all of the fibers of the incoming cable.
Although a major portion of issues, faults, outages, or changes in the operations of a communications network are handled in the active equipment, and thus in the relevant OSS/BSS, a significant portion of problems will concern the physical network.
dpCom includes a module for the management of issues/outages/faults (detected or planned). This module is used by the NOC, customer service desk, and network planners. The module includes help for pinpointing faults, mechanisms for analyzing the customer impact (including SLA levels), and notifications to customers. The customer help desk can see if a calling customer is part of a known fault/outage and the immediately get relevant information on the current status and plans for restoring service.
To say that the telecom industry is in dramatic state of change would be a huge understatement. Old monopolies are transforming, new players entering the field, value chains forming and reforming. At the same time, demands from end users for reliable, always-on, high-speed network access is growing exponentially. Utilities struggle to keep up with volume and speed of these changes due to growing shortage of skilled experts and technicians.
Technologies like cable and mobile broadband play an important role in the industry transformation, but fiber access is the preferred solution and the number of FTTH projects throughout the world is huge. The result is a global shortage of people skilled in the design, planning, building, and deployment of fiber networks.
dpCom helps those people be more productive, enabling network owners, network operators and contractors to maximize the output of their staff, and reduce the need for mandatory overtime.
Broadband access is no longer primarily relied on by end users for entertainment; it has become the communication channel for essential communication and a range of vital, online services. As the criticality of this access has grown, regulatory bodies are increasing their scrutiny of broadband operators, and putting new expectations and standards in place. Existing and upcoming requirements address network traits including resilience, fault tolerance, trouble reporting, and communication to users regarding disturbances.
dpCom’s full model of the network combined with a number of managements and diagnostic tools help network owner conform to these requirements. These tools:
NIS, or Network Information System is supporting the business processes
throughout the entire lifecycle of the network.
Network Lifecycle Management
In the field Apps
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