Fiber deployment continues to rise as the pandemic spurred new ways to work, learn, access healthcare and more. Whether a network is old or new, IQGeo Vice President Wade Anderson and Solutions Engineer Kyle Arnell say operators should not discount the value of a detailed and consistent system of record.
Anderson and Arnell joined the Fiber Broadband Association for a recent Fiber for Breakfast where they shared tips and strategies for maintaining a network that delivers the best possible broadband service to customers.
Arnell said no organization is immune to network growing pains, and even the most successful ones still need some kind of record keeping process in place.
“The larger an apparatus becomes, the more moving parts it requires to continue,” he said. “Organic growth will test the scalability of your current engineering processes. . . Acquisitional growth will test the resolve of management of the parent company and the acquired team members--both groups will have a tendency to rely on local network knowledge and documentation.”
Arnell went on to explain how siloed processes and disconnected applications tend to create mistrust and disunity, and that reliance on tribal knowledge is unsustainable.
“If you want your business to grow and continue to be efficient, you can’t rely on the information living inside of local technicians’ or engineers’ heads,” he said.
To combat that, Arnell and Anderson suggest implementing a game plan for success that includes a daily habit of achieving greatness, creating harmony, standardizing processes, implementing a quality assurance/quantity control process and implementing maintenance protocols.
Anderson noted that a big part of the process is a keeping detailed and well-maintained system of records, something that he said can be implemented regardless of what stage providers are in with deploying their network.
“Imagine a world where you didn’t have your accounting books in a software record,” he said. “Analogous to QuickBooks for your accounting records is a system of record for your fiber records.”
Anderson said that coalescing your disconnected applications or records into a centralized fiber record system brings key benefits like capacity visibility and rapid outage response.
“Most fiber record systems will have an ability to take an OTDR trace, plug that into the system and estimate with a high degree of accuracy where that fiber break has likely occurred, allowing your team to roll trucks to the appropriate place and fix the outage in the fastest way possible,” Anderson explained.
To get started, Arnell and Anderson recommend the following steps:
- Identify the data points that are most important to your current and future operations.
- Standardize around those key data points.
- Monitor your efforts and adjust course where necessary.
- Maintain your network documentation in the same way you do your physical assets
Listen to the full presentation by Wade Anderson and Kyle Arnell on the Fiber for Breakfast Podcast.