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SpatialInfo User Conference: Using Dark Fiber Trace for Cellular Backhaul Design
SPATIALInfo is holding its 2009 User Conference at Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center in Breckenridge, Colorado at which I gave a keynote. The event is extremely well attended by telco, cable, power, municipal utility and engineering companies.
I heard a fascnating presentation by Mike Springer and Peter Dart about cellular backhaul. Cellphone antennas are typically connected to the telephone network using T1 lines, but cell phone operators are increasingly finding that T1 is limiting capacity and are looking for other alternatives. One way is to link to the nearest fiber network, which is often owned and operated by a cable company.
What Mike first showed was using SpatialNET to locate a cellphone antenna tower and then find the nearest fiber splice point. The coolest thing that Mike showed was to use a tool called dark fiber trace to trace the fiber network from the splice point back to the head end to determine routing, the availability of capacity, and where splicing is required. You can even choose to look for several alternative routes to increase diversity. It was very impressive that in one step you can determine where you have spare fiber and where you need to splice, which you can either design automatically or manually. And no, this is not a photo of Breckenridge. I blogged earlier about the palm cell antenna that I found in Abu Dhabi.
SPATIALinfo has been developing telco/cable industry solutions to work with Autodesk products since 1997, and their primary network design and management tool spatialNET is AutoCAD-based and is designed for network engineers to design and manage fiber, coax, copper and power networks, and supports both inside and outside plant. SPATIALinfo is Autodesk’s first Preferred Industry Partner in the cable/telco space.