Planning, Designing, and Future-Proofing Networks


In the modern world, reliable internet service isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. But the world of managing networks for telecommunications companies becomes more complex every day as new technology emerges. The key to these networks is what’s outside the plant or building—assets like cables, poles, and anything necessary to deliver the internet connection. Today’s guest, Dustin Sutton, president of 3-GIS, a developer of software to manage fiber optic networks, shared his insights.

“Years ago, assets outside the building were easy to track. There were dots or lines on the map, and you know what those correlated to, which was copper cabling. Now, it’s much more complex. These dots and lines could represent many different types of cable. Plus, the telecom companies need to understand how those dots and lines connect,” Sutton said

This type of data has been digitized for most companies. The location data is critical for keeping the network going but also to ensure that people don’t dig or disrupt what’s in the ground and so that providers can send field technicians out to connect or disconnect services. “This isn’t the case for every company, which means information isn’t streamlined, causing delays for end users. There are still challenges with the digitization of Open Settlement Protocol (OSP). When we talk to companies that want to make an investment in software to manage networks, they are focused on how to optimize revenue and keep customers; cost reduction is secondary,” Sutton said.

What’s critical for the future of networks is managing complexity. “Older systems were built on legacy platforms, so there was no ability to be flexible. But that’s the nature of the industry now. Fiber optic networks change rapidly, and organizations know that what they are putting in the ground today will be obsolete in five years. That’s why there is an effort to future-proof, so they don’t have to start over. They want an agile architecture. They are also over-building with extra cable in the ground or conduit on the pole, so there’s more capacity,” he said.

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