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5 ways to accelerate large-scale fiber-optic network projects

By Max Burkhalter
March 14, 2016

Let's face it, if you're a telecom working on a large fiber-optic cabling project, you have a long road ahead of you. By the end of that path, you must have managed an extremely complex effort and kept it on schedule and on budget. Any delays and you risk missing a market opportunity. Any excess costs and you wind up in a situation in which it can be difficult to monetize the network over time. Efficiency is king in large fiber-optic network projects. Getting cables out quickly and with minimal overhead maximizes the potential of your network.

Accelerating your fiber deployments puts you on the path to value creation. Five of the best ways to speed up the pace of your fiber projects are:

1. Plan ahead - way ahead
Maximizing the potential profits from fiber-optic cabling systems is often easiest when you build the network well in advance of when you need it. In particular, it is often ideal to install fiber in locations where construction is already underway, dramatically reducing the costs that come with any such project. You may end up with some sunk costs for a time until you are able to offer service in an area, but the inexpensive capital cost is worth the risk.

Installing fiber when a new housing development is constructed, for example, lets you build out cable runs while the area is already being dug up to install pipes, roads and underground power lines. Similarly, you can deploy your fiber-optic networks when municipal projects - like installing new draining pipes or performing road construction - are underway. All of this lets you avoid the cost and disruption of building a network from scratch, making it much easier to deploy fiber.

It is possible to accelerate fiber-optic network deployment in diverse ways.It is possible to accelerate fiber-optic network deployment in diverse ways.

2. Take advantage of specialized tools
Fiber-to-Ethernet media converters and similar technologies let you simplify fiber deployment through simple, reliable connectivity architectures. Getting fiber and copper network components to work together is often complex and expensive. Media converters and other tools that simplify network installation let you streamline many components of the network deployment process, making it much easier to get service out to customers in the most efficient way possible.

Pre-terminated cables and innovative methods for running cables through trenches can also pay dividends here.

3. Use micro trenching when possible
Micro trenching is a process of digging trenches that are just big enough to hold an optical cabling assembly and just deep enough to keep the wires safe. The practice has become popular in urban settings where a normal trench would be incredibly expensive and disruptive to install. That said, micro trenches can also accelerate getting fiber to homes or businesses. This isn't always an option, but work closely with municipal officials to explore when micro trenching will be viable for your project and help you identify opportunities to accelerate the construction elements of the network installation.

"Micro trenches can also accelerate getting fiber to homes or businesses."

4. Don't neglect existing networks
Fiscal value is one of the major barriers to fiber-to-the-home network installation. On one hand, telecoms need to get fiber networks in place to maintain their competitive advantage. On the other, ensuring service adoption once those networks is out can be difficult. This often leads to projects stalling as financial leaders skimp on resources to devote to the project. The result is a situation in which network deployment can be slow and tedious because the installation must be justified at every turn.

Ramping up marketing for your existing fiber-optic networks can lead to greater adoption rates among your existing customer base. This can convince your business leaders that the time is right for new network deployment, making it much easier to get the resources you need to accelerate projects. Dealing with corporate barriers can be one of the major reasons for delays when rolling out new optical network systems. Getting fiscal results from existing initiatives can help you break through these roadblocks.

5. Take advantage of dark fiber
There are miles of unused or barely used fiber-optic cabling spread out around the country. These dark fiber lines can be used as middle-mile networks, making it much easier to keep an FTTH project focused. Taking advantage of existing dark fiber systems lets you exclusively build last-mile network systems, accelerating the deployment.

Large-scale fiber optic cabling projects run into a huge array of problems. They are complex, require collaboration with municipalities and are incredibly expensive. That investment can pay dividends over time, especially as consumer and business network requirements expand at a rapid pace. Moving ahead on fiber installation can put you in the best possible position to monetize the current data consumption wave.

Accelerating fiber deployments is possible when you use the right technology and strategies to overcome many of the barriers that come when managing such a complex, multi-layered project. Stay ahead of the competition through efficient deployment practices that let you get your fiber networks active as quickly as possible.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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