Managing Fiber Projects Begins with Your Fiber Playbook
Football teams have playbooks to describe roles, responsibilities, routes and coverages.
Sales teams have playbooks to outline selling processes, best practices and tips to close deals.
Cybersecurity teams have playbooks to map out options for monitoring, preventing and responding to security threats and events.
Your team can have a playbook, too—one that documents all the people, organizations, processes, materials, tools and technologies involved in managing fiber projects and systems.
No matter who it serves, the goal of any playbook is this: to make sure all stakeholders understand their roles, the proper workflows to follow and how to come together to meet the team’s shared goals.
3 examples of what to include in your playbook
Managing fiber projects—especially complex ones—should always begin with a fiber playbook.
Inside your playbook is where you’ll document many things, including fiber design and deployment considerations and decisions. While this is just one component of your playbook, it’s an important one: It maps out all the components and equipment that make up the system.
Let’s look at some examples of design and deployment information your playbook could include.
Which fiber type is being used for your project? If you’re deploying multimode cable inside a building, for instance, then you’ve got options: OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 or OM5 fiber cable. Each one offers different loss, length and compatibility profiles. For instance, while OM1 and OM2 are legacy cables and rarely used, they still have their place in certain applications, like control systems.
There are other types of cables you may need to consider using, too:
- Hybrid cables (fiber + something else), such as Belden’s Fault-Managed Power System Cables. Their fiber/copper construction allows for the simultaneous transmission of power and data in the same cable.
- SMPTE cables designed for high-definition cameras that can send multiplex audio signals and video signals.
- Composite cables that provide a mixture of multimode/singlemode fiber or shielded and unshielded twisted-pair copper wires bundled under one jacket.
- Specialty fiber cables that range from tactical cables for demanding conditions to flexible ribbon cable that supports a high fiber count in tight spaces.
Termination methods and materials are another design factor to document in your fiber playbook. For instance, you’ll want to note whether you’re using:
- Pre-terminated cables, which are terminated by the manufacturer before they’re shipped to you
- Field-terminated cables, which are terminated by installers on the jobsite
- A combination of both
If you’re using field-terminated cables, you’ll also need to document the type of termination being used.
Don’t forget about fiber polarity! It defines the direction of light-signal flow in a fiber optic cable. Your fiber project will define your polarity scheme:
- Duplex polarity, which provides a pathway from the transmitting port in a host transceiver to the receiving port in recipient transceiver and then back
- Method A, which involves a polarity flip in A-to-A patch cords
- Method B, which involves a polarity flip in cassettes
- Method C, which involves a polarity flip by pairs
- No polarity
As you work your way through the design and deployment considerations involved with managing fiber projects—and document those considerations and decisions—be sure your choices align with needs so you don’t pay for something you won’t use.
For example, many people gravitate toward OM5 because it’s the newest multimode fiber and supports high bandwidth and fast speeds. If the fiber is being deployed in an industrial plant or hospital, however, where fiber backbone runs will extend 300 meters or 400 meters, then OM5 isn’t the right fit. You won’t be able to take full advantage of the features and benefits it offers.
More resources to guide your playbook
Are you ready to develop your very own fiber playbook?
We can help you build a roadmap that lays out your system requirements and practical solutions to help you visualize your target and what you need to achieve success.