Not all fiber network System of Record (SoR) software is created equal. In fact, very few are designed to meet the unique challenges of managing fiber networks today. I’ve covered some of the major challenges our customers and the industry face in my recent blog posts, and it’s interesting to explore the strategic role an optimized SoR plays in turning these operational challenges into business opportunities.
For instance, I talked about how the Law of Entropy applies to fiber networks and why it’s crucial to have a software-based solution that keeps chaos at bay. We also discussed the importance of having mobile tools for field technicians and how to capture tribal knowledge before it escapes your grasp. An SoR underpins all of this critical activity.
In these previous posts, I’ve essentially been circling the question of what differentiates an optimized SoR from those systems that employ less efficient architectures and workflows. In this article, I’ll tackle that topic head-on.
Below are the 5 most important things to look for in a software SoR when managing fiber networks.
1. Fiber capacity visibility
One of the most important data points for any fiber network operator is how much capacity exists across a network. And if I’m being honest, what I really care about is knowing how much fiber capacity exists in specific cables at specific locations. Without this information, everyone on your team is working in the dark.
Your SoR should make it easy to figure this out and run detailed fiber capacity reports. With today’s technology, you shouldn’t need to rely on static spreadsheets or paper records to tell you where you have available fiber capacity. An SoR built to optimize your fiber management will provide clear visibility into fiber capacity.
2. Rapid outage response
Rapid outage response is critical to your business and your response capabilities are highly dependent on your SoR. You should be able to identify the source of any network issues quickly and empower field techs with the knowledge they need to solve problems onsite, the first time.
You need an optimized SoR that can accept OTDR readings and find faults with precision. Ideally, your SoR should also include automated outage response features, like alerting, that will kick into action before things start to go awry.
3. Centralized and trustworthy fiber records
Your SoR should provide a secure repository for storing all your fiber records in an organized and efficient manner. It should also allow you to set access controls and permissions that enable team members with the appropriate skill set to jump in and out of the system whenever necessary.
The most sophisticated fiber-specific SoRs also integrate with powerful GIS platforms, enabling operators to layer different types of maps on top of their fiber infrastructure. These map layers provide powerful geospatial contextual information for optimizing network performance and planning for future developments.
4. Mobile-connected workforce
Great SoR software has mobility in its very DNA, not an awkward additional application. Mobile capabilities shorten the feedback loop between the field and the office, ensuring that network data stays up to date creating a virtuous circle of data quality. A mobile-connected workforce can collaborate efficiently across the organization.
Technicians should be able to record as-built fiber data, splice information, field notes, and more directly into the SoR with smart devices. And those in the office should be able to make real-time decisions based on this field information and relay next steps back to people in the field.
5. Data-driven fiber planning & design
Last but not least, optimized SoRs come with tools that streamline fiber planning and design. You should be able to estimate costs, both material and labor, directly in your platform, as well as map out future routes based on geospatial data and existing fiber capacity.
A well-designed fiber SoR will even make routine activities like planning splices easier by providing intuitive visual tools through which operators can simulate potential network changes before making them in the field.
OSPInsight: The ultimate optimized fiber SoR
So, now you know the must-have features of fiber SoRs. But where can you find all of these in one solution?
OSPInsight is different from other fiber SoRs in that it was built by people who understand fiber network operations inside and out. We were born in the fiber world versus others who have expanded into it from other sectors.
We have 25+ years of successful software implementations under our belt and a long track record of case studies proving that our solution works in the real world. Plus, OSPInsight is easy-to-use and takes after the latest design principles in modern software development. Our users can navigate the platform quickly and save significant time on routine fiber management tasks, such as running taper reports and checking cable capacity.
Whereas other fiber SoRs were built years ago and have changed very little since, OSPInsight has evolved to include capabilities like mobile tooling, automated outage reporting, and other advanced features that address day-to-day use cases.
And while we can customize our platform, OSPInsight comes embedded with industry best practices out of the box. Put simply, we make it as easy as possible to run fiber networks in the way operators want.
Last but not least, we have well-founded opinions about the right way to do things. We’ll share exactly how we think you should approach fiber network design and management, on top of answering any questions that come up along the way. Don’t settle for an SoR from a vendor who doesn’t understand the complexities of running fiber networks in the modern world.
Ready to see what a best-in-class, optimized fiber SoR looks like?