Planning FTTx Networks with QGIS

When you are planning an FTTx network, you will need - at a certain point in time - geographical information (GIS data) about your area: information about the location of demand points (buildings, antennas, ...) and streets. This GIS data is typically used for creating a to-build plan for your fibre network: all fibre cables, ducts, routes, POP, distribution points, ... are documented in a detailed GIS network.

FTTH and GIS bill of material Example of output files: Bill of Material and the topology of a network.

However, the GIS data can also be used in the early stage of planning to answer some strategic questions like: "What is the cost of an FTTx network in this area?", "What is the cost per neighborhood for this network?", "What is the difference in cost between P2MP and P2P architecture?", ... Answering these questions based on GIS calculations results in very accurate cost predictions.

FiberPlanIT, the network planning and design tool for FTTx networks, focusses on both strategic network planning and detailed network planning. With FiberPlanIT, your GIS data will be used to calculate an FTTx network, according to your design rules. The software presents you a fully automated FTTx design in GIS files, and summarizes the costs in a bill of material.

QGIS and fibre network planning

In order to work with GIS files, we need a GIS tool. Not only to visualize the data, but also to adjust it by adding for example a satellite image behind the GIS input. Since a few years, Comsof works with the QuantumGIS-tool. Why?
fibre networks and QGIS

  • QGIS is free (http://www.qgis.org)
  • QGIS is light-weight.
  • QGIS is easy to use, with a low learning curve.
  • GIS is supported by a big community that delivers very useful plugins.

For strategic fibre network planning, QGIS is used to validate the input data and to visualize the simulated FTTH design. QGIS is also used to visualize how the costs are distributed over the area.

For detailed fibre network planning, we need a closer interaction with the GIS files. Therefore, Comsof has developed a QGIS plugin for designing networks. With the FiberPlanIT Designer, the user can easily interact with the FiberPlanIT results: moving a distribution point, change the proposed clustering, rerouting a cable, ... click, drag and recalculate with FiberPlanIT. This enables huge amounts of time-saving due to the automation of planning the network. As the FTTx calculations are cost-optimized, your FTTx design will be also as economic as possible.

Using QGIS as the GIS editor, enables us to focus only on the FiberPlanIT optimization engine enabling more FTTx architectures, faster and better calculations. When a new user starts with our FiberPlanIT software, they also learn working with the QGIS software. Typically, our customers are very satisfied with this GIS software, that they convince colleagues to also switch to QGIS. As our users are happy with QGIS, we will continue to work with QGIS.

If users need a more complex GIS tool - we also integrate with tools that offer the needed functionality.

The post-planning process

When the outside plant network (OSP) is planned in detail, there are some users who need more functionality for the next steps in their FTTx project.

  • Detailed documentation
  • Monitor the build process
  • Include as-built
  • Maintenance (trouble management, network expansion planning)
  • Customer and service management
  • ...

Therefore our network plans can be integrated in some of the best network inventory tools that can satisfy the needs of these users. At FiberPlanIT, we want to focus on optimizing planning aspect of the fibre project and with this open interface to other tools, we can still offer this extended functionality.

update Currently we are integrated with 5 tools.

If you want more information about how to plan your FTTx project, don't hesitate to contact me at http://www.comsof.com/contact

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