“Oh, why didn’t I document my fiber…woe is me. Now, I’ve got a hole where my bytes used to be.”

Ah, the reasons you may need outside plant software…as if you need more reasons you need it! That said, below are some of those real big-ticket reasons that many of our netTerrain OSP users ultimately decided it was time to visually document and manage their outside plant/fiber plant.

1. You May Need Outside Plant Software if Backhoes Give You Nightmares
Heard stories about those dreaded backhoes eating away fiber strands? Is it the operator or the machine? Hey, maybe the machines are trying to take over one strand at a time! Or…maybe the operator was done wrong by fiber? It’s hard to tell.

Regardless of what’s at fault, I’ve gotta ask this: if a calamity befalls you and you don’t know what just got whacked… it makes the process of piecing the network back together that much harder.

So why do you need outside plant documentation? Because that’s just one issue, of countless, that you may run into if you manage fiber and outside plant.

2. You May Need Outside Plant Software if Your Magic 8 Ball Doesn’t Work
Another reason you may need outside plant documentation such as netTerrain OSP? Fear of the unknown. For example: the boss walks in the office and says we need a new circuit path for a new project that is super high priority — and we need information for tomorrow’s high-level executive meeting.

“Errr…no problem let me whip out my handy fiber documentation and have it tell me what fiber we have available and have it determine a path for me. How about a redundant path to. Oh wait I don’t have a tool that does that and I don’t even have a magic 8 ball. So, I’ll let the family know it will be another late night and not to wait up because I will be here trying to figure out fiber strands and where they are and if they are used and so on.”

If I don’t know what I have and where it is, how can I possibly plan or answer questions?

3.You May Need Outside Plant Software if Sean is on Vacation in Aruba
Ah, troubleshooting headaches. I am sure you’ve seen this one before:

The network is down. The user cant get to the database. The inventory system cannot be reached. I can’t get to Amazon to purchase that on-sale clown suit I want to wear on Halloween (and of course don’t forget those cat videos). The trouble with troubleshooting is where to begin…

Well, of course you look at the issue and start to work out. Afterall, you know the user is experiencing an issue and others also having that issue.. Is there a correlation to some event happening like a power outage in a data center. You know the drill: check data here, ping this, look that up. Begin the process.

But you know this gets a whole lot more difficult when you don’t have information at your disposal that is both up-to-date and accurate. Or maybe you don’t have up-to-date documentation but you have Sean, the guy that knows everything about the network and can tell you exactly what is needed. Oh wait…Sean is on vacation with his family in Aruba. We can’t ask him. Go break out that document we printed last year. Maybe that has the information we need. But can you trust it? No? Ok, fun times ahead: let’s go do some hands-on checking of all the fiber…

Well, you get the idea. Why do we need outside plant documentation, and even better: outside plant/ fiber plant software? Maybe we don’t need it as in: yes, life will go on without it — but that being said: our lives may be a lot harder without it. More overtime for the bosses to explain, more late nights, more missed family, and what about that important soccer game?

About Jason Sherman

As Graphical Networks’ Sales Engineering and Support Services Manager, Jason Sherman leads the pre and post sales cycle with the entire Graphical Networks software portfolio, and ensures current customers are able to use the software to its fullest potential.