Telecom GIS In Five Minutes Video Series - Episode 029 - Wireless and Fiber Planning in ArcGIS

10-05-2021 07:50 PM
Esri Regular Contributor

Hey, everybody and welcome to another episode of Telecom GIS in five minutes. This week the Esri Telecom team is at the Connect (x) conference here in Orlando, Florida. This event is all about the wireless industry and 5G innovations and the telecom infrastructure required to support these innovations. So we thought it would be relevant to showcase a demonstration of the RF wireless solutions and fiber planning that the Esri Telecom team is showcasing here at the event. So without further ado, let's jump into a demonstration.

As communication networks have evolved, so has GIS and its role in planning nextgen networks. Network planners and engineers need geospatial tools to assist in not only automated fiber design, but wireless RF planning as well. Because broadband can be delivered via fiber, HFC, WiFi, fixed wireless, and numerous other ways, a one trick GIS or engineering tool, limits a planning teams ability to be as efficient and effective as possible. ArcGIS as a comprehensive geospatial system allows network planners to access all the tools necessary to plan communication networks no matter the network technology, and that's what I'd like to show in this demonstration.

So let's continue our planning around addressing the digital divide in Lakeland, Florida. The schools we've targeted as public WiFi locations will also serve as locations for fixed wireless deployment. So let's understand what the wireless coverage will be and perform some RF engineering. Then let's move into fiber planning to connect all these sites together. So once again, we can see our schools here on the map and using our connected GIS, we can add our suitability results, which have been filtered down to the final set of school targets.

These are those seven locations that we will use to generate our RF coverage. Using the Expera Online solution that is built on ArcGIS, we can easily take a spreadsheet that contains the information about the type of wireless equipment and spectrum that we want to use and drop it into our RF calculation tool. The setup of this tool lets us verify each location before running the analysis. Once we have verified all of the antenna information from our spreadsheets and each of the sites locations, we can then run our analysis. Here we have our RSSI coverage results for each of the sites that we plan to deploy fixed wireless at, but not only do we have this coverage map, which we can overlay on top of our imagery, but for each building and home.

We can also see the expected signal strength. Selecting on a home location shows us the rooftop signal strength, a tested signal strength adjust 5ft above the ground, and the best possible signal strength if a receiver was placed on a mass outside of the home. So as we are calculating homes path for a new fixed wireless offering, we'll be able to better understand which homes are serviceable and their quality of experience. Now, whether we are providing broadband access via fixed wireless, WiFi, or fixed line, a fiber back bone is still needed, so let's transition from RF planning to fiber planning and see what it's going to take to provide fiber to each of these sites.

Once again, we have our proposed sites and the original suitability results added to the map. And just as we've added this data from our connected GIS, we can also add the RF engineering output as well as our As-built fiber network. This fiber network and the network access points, the Splices, the FDHs, PEDs, etc. Will be used in our high-level fiber design, so our goal now is to optimize the proposed new fiber routes that will connect all of these schools or fixed wireless sites to our existing fiber network.

Using ArcGIS and the Network Path Planner Spatial Analysis Tool planning routes no longer requires hand drawn lines in Google Earth. The Path Planner tool leverages a street network to optimize the proposed fiber routes. All we need to do is put in our network access point and the sites that we want to connect. Then give a name for our project and run the tool. The tool uses spatial analysis and the street network to locate the shortest distance path back to the existing network. The tool will also daisy chain sites together. If it made sense for a site to feed into another site.

And now that we have these network paths, we can then see the footage of each route and generate a high level cost for this fiber project. ArcGIS as a comprehensive geospatial system, provides the tools for next gen network planning and engineering. ArcGIS provides that one connected GIS system to easily go from planning wireless networks to fix line networks so that engineers can address the digital divide as optimally as possible.

So this has been another episode of TGI5. Thanks for watching. We hope to see you all at future industry events and until next time we're out.

-Patrick Huls

Solutions Engineer | @SpatialNinja | Telecommunications
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