Intellias
Case study

GIS-Driven Broadband Network Planning Solution

We delivered E2E development services for a German telecom company to help streamline FTTx network planning, implementation, and management

Key features

  • Manage complex fiber-optic projects

    Manage complex fiber-optic projects

  • Generate map-aware network plans

    Generate map-aware network plans

  • Design district-level FTTx networks

    Design district-level FTTx networks

Industry:
LBS, Telecommunications
Headquarters:
Germany
Market:
DACH, Luxembourg
Team size:
17 members
Cooperation:
2011 – present
Technologies:

.NET / Bootstrap / C# / CSS / DevExpress / ESRI ArcGIS / JavaScript / JQuery / MS SQL Server / PHP / PostgreSQL / PostSharp / Prism / Symfony / T-SQL / WCF / WPF

About the client 

Municipalities and communities of all sizes in the DACH countries and Luxembourg have been seeking our client’s engineering and guidance on Fiber to the x (FTTx) network planning for years. Our client is a German company that has built a reputation as an expert at all stages of broadband internet and telecommunications network planning, from design to implementation. They advise, consult, survey, plan, implement, and document telecommunications networks for the future. The company is renowned for both making the most out of local telecommunications infrastructure and offering comprehensive and cost-effective designs for challenging network planning processes. Their proprietary multi-modular software suite enables a high degree of automation in network planning and implementation.

GIS-Driven Broadband Network Planning Solution

Our client came with the challenge

The intensive development of urban infrastructure, coupled with booming demand for broadband connectivity, has made fiber-optic installations increasingly demanding. Our client needed a software tool to automate the planning, design, and management of large-scale FTTx projects. This tool had to rely heavily on geographical and fiber network maps of municipalities and rural areas. It needed to help minimize inefficient manual effort and significantly cut the cost of infrastructure projects.

The collective expertise of our client’s geodesists, network engineers, and business experts resulted in a clear product requirements document. Our client started development in-house, but lack of experience in setting up complex SDLC processes soon caused difficulties with adhering to the expected project velocity and defined rollout schedules. This false start highlighted the necessity for a professional IT outsourcing partner. Intellias was fit for the task given the company’s experience in delivering enterprise-grade software projects and its proven .NET expertise.

Intellias is developing the solution 

The first thing Intellias did upon forming the project team was to set up comprehensive Agile and Extreme Programming (XP) development processes. This ensured a definite scope, flow, timeline, and toolset for each stage from design to deployment. Working with our client, we identified principal use cases and approved the core technology stack, enhancements to the architecture prototype, and primary product features.

It was only then that we moved to intensive development activities. Together with our client’s on-site development team, Intellias implemented a desktop solution for building optimal FTTx designs with minimum manual post-processing. The backbone of the solution is a mathematical engine powered by heuristic algorithms large-scale clustering and ArcGIS-supplied geodata.

For the clusterization algorithms, Intellias employed a theoretical mathematician to help with the practical application of transportation theory, modified k-means clustering, Dijkstra’s algorithm, and the Floyd-Warshall algorithm. The resulting sophisticated mechanism enables automatic distribution of ducts and cables across neighborhoods from distribution points to house connections based on geodata and a number of specific criteria. These include the maximum radius from the distribution point, the maximum number of houses in the cluster, the maximum number of fibers in a duct cable, and more. The solution generates highly detailed cable and duct routes that require minimum manual adjustments in the network plan editor.

We used ArcGIS products for map rendering and map data storage in a versioned Oracle database, which we later substituted with PostgreSQL. The geodata contains actual roads, houses, labels, distribution points, and existing duct trenches. Maps are fetched as collections of layers and geo-objects by integrating with the ArcGIS API. The whole application re-uses the ArcGIS logic in handling geospatial data, with its specific datasets, attributes, layers, labels, discrete feature classes (points, lines, and polygons), continuous surfaces, labels, and the like.

To facilitate network project management, our team developed a dedicated web solution. It’s built on Symfony components and uses a PostgreSQL database as well as JavaScript components for data visualization and reporting. The portal lets users create template-based projects and monitor all their aspects, from project costs to work orders and schedules.

We’re achieving great results together 

Currently, the Intellias team provides maintenance and support to our client’s solutions and develops new features as requested. The results of our collaboration have reinforced the reputation of Intellias as a reliable and competent nearshore outsourcing partner. Both Intellias and our client have gained considerable expertise in the latest .NET stack, GIS information processing, and telecommunications networking. Intellias has helped our client strengthen their market position, increase their service level, and make their pricing options more attractive.

Our collaboration has allowed our client to extend their offerings: 

  • Extensive automation of FTTx network design with a low error rate  
  • Network design optimization due to precise estimation of regional development costs  
  • Quick overview of network structures through schematics or geo-scheme network plans  
  • Automatic generation of optimized cable and duct routes  
  • Fiber-level design capabilities with automatic generation of splice lists for individual elements or all elements of distribution sites  
  • Proprietary technology with dynamic efficiency regarding all functions based on topology  
  • Multi-criteria analysis functionality based on a detailed view of network components, including duct and cable lengths 
  • Library of configurable, reusable components supporting import from external sources 
  • A complete network project management portal for monitoring project status, timelines, relevant work orders, expenses, and more 
  • A mobile application that simplifies documentation of existing telecommunications infrastructure 

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