What does it take to understand a communications network? One of the best ways to connect complex concepts and physical systems is to create a model. In most modeling, a key trade-off is the precision of the model, versus the time spent creating the model. The more precise the model, then the better it reflects the actual system and allows users of the model to investigate the system.
Communications networks are some of the most complex systems ever created. The time to design, document, and build communications networks is significant. Luckily, modern applications can use much of that time investment in design to document the model of the communications network. The model is critical because the scale of communications networks is huge. It’s expensive to send technicians to check out open capacity, or determine who is impacted from a cut cable.
At the same time, flipping through paper maps is untenable for the increasingly complex networks being deployed. Virtual representations of communications networks are much more manageable. These virtual representations need to be accessible to every stakeholder in the most efficient interface.
Ideally, a communications network model would capture every individual physical aspect of the network. Each cable strand, interconnection, piece of outside and inside plant, and their physical properties. That level of detail makes the model a “full connectivity model.” A model with that level of precision provides efficiency benefits to its users.
Users can visualize information within the context of the model. Users can perform queries on the model that allow them to instantly find information necessary to network operations. CSRs know the downstream effects from network outages and performance degradations. Executives can see the locations of prospects, opportunities, and service takes. Visualizing information in context means that data is no longer siloed in departments or operational systems. Siloed data is a detriment to accurate and timely decision making.
The trade-off to consider with a “full connectivity model” is the time commitment required to get it setup and to maintain it. That is why design tools need to be able to export that information directly to the model. This allows precise design work that will be reused and prevents reentering data. Expanding the communications network also involves creating work orders and staking sheets – planning work that should be done in the model. This allows the model to reflect not only the present state of the network but also the future planned state.
The idea of modeling every single part of a communications network is intimidating. But the companies and organizations that create full connectivity models have a powerful tool at their disposal. They are able to connect physical parts of the network to the logical parts of the network. They are then able to provide visualizations of the model to any department in the organization. Those departments can layer in all the contextual data that they need to make decisions, whether that’s demographics data for Sales and Marketing, or alarm and fault data for network operations.
So what could you do when you understand your network in the context of all the other data needed to make decisions? Email us to learn more.