Network Design and Implementation: Network planning and design is an iterative process, encompassing topological design, network synthesis, and network realization, and is aimed at ensuring that a new network or service meets the needs of the subscriber and operator. The process can be tailored according to each new network or service.
A traditional network planning methodology involves four layers of planning, namely:
Each of these layers incorporate plans for different time horizons, i.e. the business planning layer determines the planning that the operator must perform to ensure that the network will perform as required for its intended life-span. The Operations and Maintenance layer, however, examines how the network will run on a day-to-day basis.
Once the initial decisions have been made, the network planning process involves three main steps:
Topological design: This stage involves determining where to place the components and how to connect them. The (topological) optimization methods that can be used in this stage come from an area of mathematics called Graph Theory. These methods involve determining the costs of transmission and the cost of switching, and thereby determining the optimum connection matrix and location of switches and concentrators.
Network-synthesis: This stage involves determining the size of the components used, subject to performance criteria such as the Grade of Service (GoS). The method used is known as "Nonlinear Optimization", and involves determining the topology, required GoS, cost of transmission, etc., and using this information to calculate a routing plan, and the size of the components.
Network realization: This stage involves determining how to meet capacity requirements, and ensure reliability within the network. The method used is known as "Multi commodity Flow Optimization", and involves determining all information relating to demand, costs and reliability, and then using this information to calculate an actual physical circuit plan.
These steps are interrelated and are therefore performed iteratively, and in parallel with one another. The planning process is highly complex, meaning that at each iteration, an analyst must increase his planning horizons, and in so doing, he must generate plans for the various layers outlined above.
During the process of Network Planning and Design, it is necessary to estimate the expected traffic intensity and thus the traffic load that the network must support. If a network of a similar nature already exists, then it may be possible to take traffic measurements of such a network and use that data to calculate the exact traffic load. However, as is more likely in most instances, if there are no similar networks to be found, then the network planner must use telecommunications forecasting methods to estimate the expected traffic intensity.