Optimizing the network investment
Today’s telecommunications networks involve a growing number of choices of technologies for use in the outside plant. To accommodate varying technologies, engineers need new tools for planning and design. Fiber optics and wireless technology have revolutionized the local telecommunications network. Over the last two decades, fiber has transitioned from backbone and long-haul transmission lines to the local loop and become critical to delivering broadband. Wireless continues to evolve into a replacement for traditional landline service, and with the explosion of smartphones, wireless itself is becoming a medium for broadband data delivery.
Prior to the introduction of these technologies, telecommunications were predominantly landline voice services and delivered over copper wires. When copper cables approached call carrying capacity, relief was providing by installing new or larger copper cable.
Unlike the past, today, when networks become congested, engineers have a myriad of technology choices ranging from upgrading wireless or fiber transmission equipment to migrating to a completely new transmission technology. It is far more complicated, due to the large array of data that must be considered, to select the most appropriate technology and then design a network. To optimize capital investment, the telecommunications professional must be able to understand market potential, identify competitive threats, and evaluate the network interconnection technology available at customer locations.
A geographic information system (GIS) can help optimize the network investment. Engineers use GIS to integrate all critical factors into an effective decision-making process. The spatial capabilities of GIS provide a platform to display and analyze all necessary data. Mapping and visualization allow the integration of market and network information onto a single, simple-to-use platform. Modeling within a GIS allows multiple scenarios to be run. By varying the assumptions, users can compare capital cost and revenue for each scenario to determine the network deployment that maximizes return on investment.
As the telecommunications technology revolution continues to unfold, the market is becoming more competitive. Technology options, if properly deployed, can provide a competitive edge. However, seizing the advantage that technology offers can only be realized if companies have the tools to optimize the network investment.