In a traditional field-based deployment process, network deployment occurs in separate customer locations. Equipment is shipped piecemeal to each location and stored onsite until the time of installation, or shipped to a central warehouse for handling and distribution. Field engineers travel to each location, validate the kit, and complete the installation, provisioning and testing of the networkt, staying locally until the job is done.
If a part is wrong, or missing, or fails out of the box, it would be reordered and shipped to the appropriate customer location. Field engineers would need to come back to this location on another day to complete their work. Given an industry standard out-of-the-box failure rate of roughly 2%, such part failures would cause return trips by field engineers in at least one customer location. It is likely that these part problems would occur in multiple customer sites for a network deployment with a large number of network nodes.
An escort is generally provided by the customer to let the field engineers into the data center or cage, and to oversee their work and, in some cases, perform basic remediations. In the event of a return visit, the escort would need to be scheduled again and paid for the time required for the field engineers to complete the project.
In contrast to a traditional field-built approach to network deployment, most of the work in the Factory Built Network (FBN®) process occurs in a central facility, or “factory.” This difference allows for more of a production process, from inventory management to high volume integration, enables the use of experts for each step of the process, and the resolution of part problems before the networks leave the factory.
In the intelligent FBN process, all network components are shipped to a Network Factory initially, organized in an orderly manner and managed efficiently by logistics experts. In a clean “factory” setting, the LightRiver can lay out all network components and construct the networks in the most efficient manner possible, bringing in highly experienced specialists as needed for each step of the process, using the most appropriate tools.
Integration, commissioning, custom tuning and testing of subsystems can be completed by the most appropriate expert for the specific type of equipment, software or network, and the performance of that network can be characterized and recorded. If a system design question arises, an in-house network design engineer can be readily consulted. Failed parts are identified and replaced early in the process, and shipped to the LightRiver facility – eliminating the traditional need for extended stays at customer sites, extra trips to remote locations or increased expense for customer escorts.
Field Installation can proceed efficiently as a multivendor, multidomain network has been prebuilt, pre-commissioned and pretested, and shipped complete to a given site.
Field Built Networks Example: Equipment Shipment & Personnel Trips
Traditional Field Built Networks leave onsite workers with the task of addressing all issues on their own.
- Field Engineer or Technician
Factory Built Networks Example: Equipment Shipment & Personnel Trips
LightRiver’s Factory Built Network® (FBN®) allows for specialists to address problems onsite as needed.
- Network Design Engineers
- Fiber, Site Assessment Experts
- Integration & Provisioning Experts
- Logistics Managers
- Test Engineers
- Field Engineers
- Software Engineers
- Support Engineers
Auditing and testing tend to be relatively limited in a field deployment process, given the limited amount of time available in the field and the minimal expertise of most field installers. In fact, it is a common industry practice for field technicians to perform the physical installation while leaving the final provisioning and network auditing to remote engineering resources.
This industry practice is a work around to the high cost and travel expense associated with bringing optical engineering expertise and test equipment to customer loca,ons for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, this methodology prolongs troubleshooting time while severely limiting the complexity of performance testing. Most field test plans only include a short duration end-to-end bit error rate test with no span-by-span analysis.
Physical installation quality audits are usually performed remotely, with spot checks done on a minimum number of low-resolution installation pictures. New network systems are burned-in for a very limited time or not at all. Failover testing is rarely performed, whether for a complete system or for individual hardware levels.
LightRiver’s Factory includes a purpose-built clean environment where each and every fiber jumper, end-face and associated fiber port is inspected under a 400x scope before placement. Verified placement of clean patch cords is one of the most important validations in any high performing optical system and minimizes trouble shooting during testing. Patch cords are labeled, routed and meticulously managed. Networks are fully provisioned and custom tuned in the factory. Since networks are fully deployed in a single location, with resident onsite test engineers, they are audited and tested far more extensively than a network deployed primarily in the field.
With the Factory Built Network®, quality checks can be performed on 100% of labels, jumpers and patch cord. The neatness and routing of every optical patch cord can be verified. If required, corrections can be readily made before the equipment is shipped.
In a factory environment, systems can undergo 72 hours of “burn-in” to ensure functionality, rather than a few hours. In the factory, a full Y.1564 test is efficiently run on each provisioned circuit for bit rate, latency, jitter and frame loss, with test systems geared towards testing multiple circuits simultaneously. In addition, comprehensive system failover testing can be conducted at all hardware levels.
After Y.1564 factory testing, a final “intelligent” factory performance test can be performed via LightRiver’s netFLEX® platform to tune the network for optimized performance. Utilizing netFLEX analytics and Circuit Analysis Tool®, all circuit paths and circuit performance are captured on a span-by-span basis and compared against targeted system design performance. This allows for a better tested network and comprehensive Factory Built Network® Certification Report.
If factory testing reveals a performance issue, it can be resolved by a team of onsite packet optical engineers with a collective wealth of expertise in troubleshooting across multiple technologies. In an average deployment, roughly half of the time spent on a customer site is spent on troubleshooting issues. With the intelligent Factory Built Network (iFBN)®, almost all system issues are discovered and resolved in the factory. This saves a considerable amount of time at customer locations and in the deployment process overall.
When the system has been successfully integrated, quality checked, and fully factory tested, it is packed in custom engineered shipping crates which allow circuit packs and meticulously managed fiber patch cords to remain in place while being shipped to each customer site.
Crates are shipped via dedicated truck so they arrive at the site with the field engineers. Final field deployment is then completed in each customer location rapidly as the vast majority of the installation work was completed in the factory.
The large reduction in field install time not only streamlines the project, but also allows for additional field testing by highly skilled field engineers (versus installers). LightRiver field engineers begin each field implementation by verifying the fiber plant via Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) testing. Final testing compares all critical network data captured at the time of the Factory Build against the data that is captured again via netFLEX at the completion of field installation. This data driven testing approach ensures the highest quality network implementation while providing a benchmark, or “Golden Config”, of the Day 1 network health and performance.