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Powering Everything Internet

Fiber Optic Design


The Design phase of a fiber optic network/cable deployment is the phase which bridges the traditional IT Networking world with the world of Fiber Optic outdoor Construction.

Our/your IT Network Planners plot out on a map the locations which require Network Connectivity (buildings, campus, IoT locations, etc.). Then Fiber planners work with the IT Network Planners to find a way to connect the locations you require network connectivity too. The easy way is to draw nice straight lines on your city/county/state map and say, "go build it"...

In reality, what looks good on that desk map might not be the best, cheapest or least congested route to install your fiber network. This is where your construction consultants (capital works project managers) use their experience and local knowledge of the municipal environment.

Things to consider when picking your fiber optic network routing.

  • Are there any additional buildings/locations you want to connect on the way from one location to the final destination
  • Is this going to be redundant/backup link? ie: if redundant links (two or more links from the building to your fiber network, then you need two separate paths out of this location. Which then leads to the next question..
  • is your network hub and spoke or ring design (much like your internal networks). Ring design more complicated and thus more fiber needs to be laid/constructed, and likewise, on the network side, failover, OSPF, EIGRP, HSRP, BGP and all those fun routing protocolas come into play.
  • Any critical locations/applications? eg: 911 dispatch. If so, generally these get multiple fiber connections, through different entrance points in the building.

    Municipal/Local Government Regulations:
  • Aerial or Buried fiber construction?i
  • Aerial: Pole attachments, does your local government restrict telco (telephone companies and internet providers) on attaching their cables to the poles? what are the regulations? Are there limits on the number of telco's who can attach to a pole, and the size of their bundles (bundle of fiber cables)?
  • Aerial design regulations. What design standards does the local government require you to design to? eg: ESA2204, banding or bracket approved list? Overlashing standard? Can you dip from the fiber cable on the pole, down the pole to the ground where you can access the roadway or your building? Splicing on the cable in the air, or splicing only at ground level in a grade level box (GLB, Flush to Grade, Manhole, etc..)..
  • Buried infrastructure: Is there a Public Utilities Committee/Commission that regulates/approves of telco/utily construction in the boulavard (or right of way)?
  • Buried Infrastructure regulations: what are the local regulations on how deep you must bury your fiber, what type of pipe you must use, tracer wires, GPS location of vaults, FTG's, GLB's, Manholes?
  • Buried Infrastructure offsets: how close can utiliities be in the right of way? Generally, each utility can be more less then 30 or 60 cm's from the next utility... In some areas with narrow right of ways, especially in older areas of the city, you might only have enough right of way for 1 or 2 utilities..
  • Design Engineers: does the local municipality require stamped engineered drawings?
  • Municipal Approvals: does the Municipality require all other utilities in the right of way (or on the aerial poles) to sign off and approve of your design (stating that your design doesn't conflict with their existing infrastructure).

    Other considerations: The following are natural or other entities that you need to take into account with fiber network design. The following are generally impedments that can add considerable time and cost to the project.
  • Rivers/Lakes/Wetlands: Fiber Optic cables like to run about 1m (or 1 yard) underground, when you come to a river/lake/stream, you have design and construction issues that may hold up or derail your project. Conservation authorities requirements for boring/digging under rivers can add considerable time and costs. Attaching to bridges may not be an option as few governments allow you to just "tack" your cable onto the side of the bridge. Either you go into a conduit in the bridge deck (if there is one) or you get to rebuild the bridge, with conduit in the bridge for telco's like yourself.. You can also put poles up on both sides of the river and do an aerial crossing, but convservation authorities and local governments frown upon this many times.
  • Canyons/Ravines: Like rivers Canyon's and Ravines are construction nightmares as well. Same conversation authority and local government guidelines come into play, as well as exponential costs for construction in high risk area's.
  • Railways: this might seen odd, but railways also have requirements for crossing their tracks. NO Aerial overhead crossings allowed, and only buried, according to Railway guidelines. The issue here is that Railways tend to be fairly slow at approving designs, which adds time to your project, and you MUST MUST adhere to Railway safety rules (flagmen, time of day, supervision, etc..) which adds considerable time and costs compared to simple fiber construction projects. The busier the line is, or if there are multiple tracks at the crossing will also slow construction down as construction can happen only where there are free 'track slots' of time.
  • Airports: Same as railways. Safety and Security concerns, (at many airports constractors must pass criminal record checks for all staff, contractors, etc..).. Construction at airports is highly supervised, and high winds can cause construction stoppages (high winds along with excavating can add fine particles into the air, which is a danger for aircraft engines.



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