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5 Steps to Designing Your Telco Network Directly in NetStork, Our Inventory System

By 08/07/2024Artykuł
5 Steps to Designing Your Telco Network Directly in NetStork, Our Inventory System

Network Inventory Systems are revolutionizing the way we design and manage telecommunications infrastructure. Beyond being a robust tool for creating a network inventory, these systems now support every stage of the network lifecycle: from conceptualization and design to construction and ongoing maintenance.

In this article, we’ll use NetStork as a prime example to demonstrate why transitioning from traditional network design to a unified system can streamline your entire process.

Step 1: Prepare a Network Concept

The first step in designing your telco network is preparing a comprehensive network concept. Whether you’re working on a brownfield investment, utilizing existing infrastructure, or a greenfield investment, starting from scratch, this foundational step is crucial. Here’s how to proceed:

  1. Load the addresses that will be covered by the network
  2. Identify the existing infrastructure that will be incorporated into the project, such as:
  • Public utility poles,
  • Cable ducting from other entities,
  • Your own poles, cable ducting, and existing networks used for expansion.
  1. Determine fiber optic cable routing and
  2. Determine distribution points like couplers and splitters.

By completing these tasks, you define a conceptual network model.

While network concepts can be manually created using programs like CAD, the fastest and most efficient option is to work directly in NetStork, our inventory system.

How to Prepare a Network Concept Using NetStork

  1. Load the addresses.
  2. Create a ”Project” object in NetStork:
  • Define the project area,
  • Describe project attributes,
  • Add internal network objects if needed,
  • Model the planned part of the network,
  • Add couplers,
  • Add cables,
  • Create fiber flows within couplers.

If you create your network concept using a different tool, you can easily import all the above data into NetStork.

Addresses and the network within Nowa Sól city. A project for demonstration purposes.

An entire project view in NetStork

Step 2: Preparing a Material Breakdown

Once your network concept is ready, the next step is to create a detailed material breakdown. Use the Reports -> Summary Reports function in NetStork to achieve this.

This breakdown includes all the elements necessary for network construction, such as casings and frames, even if they aren’t part of your modeled network. This comprehensive approach allows for a more accurate assessment of the quantities and costs of required materials.

A view of the material breakdown report configuration

A ready material breakdown view

Designing an External Network Route in Our Inventory System.

NetStork offers tools to:

  • Measure the distances between objects
  • Snap objects together, e.g. ducting with cable chambers
  • Add descriptions in the map or schematic views
  • Color objects to differentiate them based on specific needs
  • Print the project with all necessary descriptions

You can print your network concept, dividing the map area between many prints of the same format.

A print view dividing the map area across multiple prints of the same format

Step 3: Preparing a Construction Design

If your network project relies on existing infrastructure, you might not need a construction design, as legally, you aren’t building anything new. However, if your concept involves adding new poles, racks, or cable chambers, a construction design is essential.

How to prepare a Network Construction Design in NetStork

  1. Load a map for project purposes into NetStork.
  2. Model objects you plan to construct on the map.
  3. Create necessary descriptions directly on the map in NetStork.
  4. Prepare a form with an adequate description chart.
  5. Print your map with the designed construction objects.

These prints are ready to use when preparing industry agreements.

A construction design of a network fragment divided into two prints

A construction design print used for obtaining agreements

You can expand your construction design with additional elements such as:

  • An inventory of green areas.
  • A list of land plots planned to accommodate your network.
  • Agreements from land plot owners.
  • Positioning details for groundworks machines.
  • Information about land development.

This stage concludes with obtaining all necessary agreements to begin network construction. All relevant documents can be attached to the “Project” object in NetStork for easy accessibility.

Step 4: Preparing an Executive Design

At this stage, you should have a clear understanding of:

  • Where and how you’ll build your network
  • The topology and configuration of your network
  • The components that will make up your network
  • The cable routing
  • The fiber connection schemes in couplers and ODFs

If you have modeled your network in NetStork, its model also serves as the executive design. You can supplement your network schemes with additional information using the “Notes” function directly on the map.

Designing cables and their flows is significantly more convenient in an inventory system like NetStork compared to graphical programs such as AutoCAD. Here’s what you can do in NetStork:

  • Create coupler connection schemes using a graphic interface.
  • Ensure your designed logical network (cables) is immediately placed in the appropriate infrastructure, such as ducting or overhead lines.
  • Verify the network’s continuity when modeling flows.
  • Check signal attenuation within the network while modeling network terminations. The optical power balance in NetStork accounts for the attenuation of cables, welding, splitters, and other elements, ensuring uninterrupted network flows.

Your executive design includes:

  1. A detailed model of your network:
  • Point objects: cable chambers, poles, switch boxes, buildings, etc.
  • Line objects: cable ducting, pole segments, etc.
  • Additional descriptions necessary to understand network elements.
  1. Fiber connection schemes within the couplers and ODFs.
  2. A corrected material breakdown after the construction design acceptance.

Material breakdown corrected after the construction design acceptance.

Step 5: Building Your Network and Making Adjustments

After network construction, discrepancies often arise between the actual build and the executive design. These changes can be seamlessly incorporated directly into NetStork. By preparing your design within our inventory system, there’s no need to transfer data from the as-built documentation to NetStork.

Why Design Your Network Directly in an Inventory System?

Telecommunications networks can be designed traditionally or by leveraging the capabilities of inventory systems. The traditional approach has only one main advantage: familiarity for designers.

However, not using an inventory system to design your network poses several challenges:

  • Access to documentation is limited and reliant on the network designers.
  • Data provided by designers may not be suitable for automated loading into an inventory system.
  • You must manually copy data about connections within couplers and ODFs.
  • Full network overview is delayed until as-built documentation is accessible, leading to operations based on outdated information.
  • It’s challenging to distinguish between the designed network and the final, constructed network.

Designing your network directly in an inventory system like NetStork eliminates these issues, providing real-time accuracy and efficiency.

Interested in learning more about network design using the NetStork inventory system? Contact us today!