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What are fiber maps and why are they useful?

Wade Anderson - Sep 10, 2019 11:00:00 AM

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Creating digital maps and sharing them across organizations is easier today than ever before.

Long gone are the days of paper records, static drawings, and spreadsheets of connectivity data. Now, businesses of all kinds can use GIS tools to support decision-making, growth strategies, and research efforts.

Digital mapping has become essential in the fiber network management space. 

Network operators must be able to visualize every element of their fiber networks, from individual strands to specific splice points. Additionally, network developers need fiber maps to evaluate local markets, plan future deployments, and study geographic variables that may impact the overall success of projects. 

In this post, we define what fiber maps are and explain why they are so important for any fiber network management organization. Let’s dive in.

So what exactly is a fiber map?

A fiber map is a visual representation of a fiber network. 

Network operators and developers use fiber maps as a single source of truth for all elements within a network. For example, fiber maps might contain geographic data about every individual cable, termination port, splice point, and patch in a network. Overall, fiber maps can support hundreds of thousands of geographic data points. 

Today, fiber maps are most often created digitally using powerful GIS applications. Using GIS, network operators can map their networks alongside other layers of data that may impact network development and performance. 

For example, a network developer may want to create a fiber map that depicts all buildings and residences in an urban area so that he or she could plan potential new cable routes. Or, the developer may want to see all roadside electrical boxes and streets in case a cable goes down and requires repair without causing significant disruption to local infrastructure. 

Troubleshooting is also much easier with GIS platforms as network operators can diagnose connectivity issues using powerful computer-based tools. They can use OTDR readings to identify where breaks may be occurring along existing cable routes. Operators can create easy-to-read reports and send them to technicians in the field for repair work. Making updates to physical networks can also be recorded in an organized fashion. Technicians and operators simply need to log into their fiber maps to input relevant geographic data, which will automatically populate in mapping layers. 

Fiber maps go far beyond serving only as visual representations and allow fiber network management teams to tie all digital elements to real, meaningful data. Operators can run complex queries on their data and use the insights to drive investment decision-making. 

Overall, fiber maps depict the current state of every important network component in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Create fiber maps with OSPInsight

In the future, fiber is only going to grow in importance as 5G networks roll out all over the world. As a fiber developer and operator, fiber maps are incredibly important for many reasons, from network growth to troubleshooting issues.

You must be able to quickly visualize your network within your GIS software and maintain detailed digital records of your cable routes. Otherwise, you are at a major disadvantage to your peers who can access their digital fiber maps from anywhere and quickly make decisions without having to flip through outdated spreadsheets. 

With OSPInsight, creating fiber maps is easy. 

Contact our team to schedule a demo of our cloud-based network management solution today.