Effective asset management of a physical fiber network minimizes failure costs and also optimizes the customer experience. In doing so, it contributes to maximum utilization and return on investment of the telecom network. A good system for managing these assets and making them profitable stands or falls with a correct registration of the fiber optic network actually built. And that both during construction and during maintenance, connection and adjustment activities.
The special aspects that make fiber optic networks unique, such as attenuation and the different types of components that are interconnected, add an extra dimension to this. A good and complete fiber optic network log contains a huge amount of data, all of which is needed to efficiently manage the network. In addition, the average fiber optic network has a long lifespan, about 30 years, during which it must be well profitable. However, much of it lies invisible underground.
Therefore, all possible details of the physical network are essential for effectively managing the network in case of failures and maintenance and protecting it in case of excavation work in the environments, for example. A complete and correct network record that meets the requirements of a network owner includes the following topics, among others:
Many failure costs occur when parts of the network need to be excavated and they are not in the specified location. Much time is lost in finding the actual locations of cables and other components if they are not properly recorded. Or if, due to incorrect location data, it is not known that there is a network in the place where third parties are excavating, parts of network may be damaged. All of these costs are borne by the network owner. In addition, the extra time and unexpected failures lead to unnecessary irritations for customers, for residents or users of the area, and not least for governments.
Knowledge of the components actually used in the network is crucial for making connections and repairs within SLAs and for quality assessments. For example, if the excavation crew when excavating the network or the technician during a customer visit discovers that different components have been used than assumed, this often leads to delays and repeat visits. The result is unnecessarily high costs for the network owner and annoyance for customers and other stakeholders.
Correct registration of the network topology – which components are connected to which other components – is essential to avoid endless searching for errors. When components, such as individual fiber optics, are connected (welded) together in a different way than as recorded, this can lead to very high costs to adjust the network to the correct topology. Turnaround times are often long because of the labor intensity and the need to employ specialists to find the errors, adjust registration in systems, weld and dig, etc. These failure costs are also borne by the network owner and, because of the long lead times, are often disastrous for a good customer experience.
As the above examples show, for the network owner, proper asset registration is important to minimize failure costs. The cost of errors resulting from a registration that is not quite complete or correct always ends up being borne by the network owner. Add these up over an entire lifespan of about 30 years and it is clear that the total cost can be enormous.
With the right asset management system and good operational processes in place to ensure that as many details as possible are mapped out, both at the time of construction and at every adjustment, network owners are much better able to keep all those costs well in check.
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