Planning tool

ADVA AG Optical Networking of Germany launched its Fibre Service Platform (FSP) network planner tool in July for its FSP 3000 metro transport solution.

Currently only available with FSP 3000, the FSP network planner is a Microsoft Corp. Windows-based tool that aids in the planning and designing of networks. According to Abdul Kasim, vice-president of marketing for ADVA Optical Networking Inc. in Ramsey, N.J., what the planner does is take an unspecified number of inputs, such as how many nodes are to be in the network, from the user through a Java-based interface, and determines what equipment would be necessary to construct the desired network.

The FSP network planner outputs a list of the necessary equipment and provides a graphical interpretation of what the network should like when it’s completed.

“This makes the life of an installer extremely easy. Currently they do it manually, and since things are fairly complex, they invariably miss out on a few things,” Kasim said. “And what happens is when they get to the field, they discover – oops! – some things are missing, or maybe a piece of cable is missing, or maybe a card is missing.”

The planning tool simplifies and automates the process, Kasim said. During the planning stage, the user interacts with the tool offline, but once the network is constructed and completed, the tool can be integrated with the FSP 3000 network management suite. If it becomes necessary to upgrade the network later, the network planner can help plan the upgrade in the same way it helped plan the network originally.

“It also allows you to do a lot of different scenarios. It does scenario-planning,” Kasim said. He added that because networks are not static, it’s necessary to plan for problems that might pop up.

The network planner also allows network engineers to create “what-if” scenarios by modifying the network on-screen and then getting an output from the tool, Kasim said. For instance, the user can move nodes around to see how they function when configured differently.

Finally, the tool will also aid in pricing out several different configurations of the network. After it determines what parts are necessary to construct the network, it can print out a list of parts, part numbers and prices.

“I used to be in engineering not too long ago. I actually deployed a lot of this equipment, and I know how painful it is,” Kasim said.

London, England-based Xchangepoint Holdings PLC used the FSP network planner to design a four-node network in London. According to the company’s senior product manager, Steve Walker, the FSP network planner was helpful in designing the network, which would have taken Xchangepoint at least four times as long to design it manually.

The company is in the early planning stages of a second ring, and Walker said he will be using the tool again. He added he really liked the simplicity of the application, but because it’s a wizard-based tool, the planner’s functionality is limited.

The FSP network planner is currently only available with the FSP 3000, but it will eventually be available as a separate list item. Pricing for the planner on its own is not available. ADVA can be found on the Web at