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FTTH Network Design under OA&M Constraints

Matthieu Chardy and Cedric Hervet


Orange Labs, 38-40 rue du General Leclerc 92125 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
{matthieu.chardy,cedric.hervet}@orange-ftgroup.com

Abstract. Due to the emergence of bandwidth-requiring services, telecommunication operators are being compelled to renew their fixed access network, most
of them favouring the Fiber To The Home (FTTH) technology. For long, network design strategies have been driven by mere deployment CAPital EXpenditures (CAPEX). Today however, the feedback and the experience gathered from
the management of former networks strongly push for the consideration of other
sources of cost for the design of networks. This paper focuses on the optimization of FTTH networks deployment under Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OA&M) considerations. Mixed integer formulations are first argued for
the modelling of these decision problems. Then, numerical tests performed on
real-life data prove the efficiency of branch and bound approaches for such models. Assessment of the economic impact of OA&M considerations is also made.

1 Introduction
For the past few decades, the business model of telecommunication operators has been
based on the design of innovative value-added services that require high level of bandwidth. The consequent need for bandwidth upgrade in networks has been handled in
different manners according to the type of network (core versus access networks, mobile versus fix networks). Like most telecommunication operators concerned with fixed
access networks, Orange has adopted the FTTH technology with a specific point to
multipoint architecture: the Passive Optical Networks (PON). Beyond technical challenges, tremendous amounts of money are at stake, and that makes its deployment a
major issue for the coming years [7]. Literature related to optical access network design is quite abundant [1,3,4,5,6]. However, to our knowledge, all the models tackle the
decision from a mere CAPEX costs perspective (costs of the equipments, costs of the
deployment intervention resources, etc.) whereas major sources of costs are not direct
one-shot CAPEX costs but indirect recurrent costs linked to OA&M [2]. This includes,
but is not limited to Information System costs, monitoring and supervision costs, preventive and curative maintenance costs. This paper focuses on the decision problem of
FTTH PON network optimization with the aim of taking into account several engineering rules motivated by OA&M considerations. The remaining of this paper is organised
as follows. Section 2 is dedicated to the mathematical modelling of PON network design problems. Numerical results assessing branch and bound solving approaches and
the impact of OA&M on CAPEX costs are presented in Section 3, before concluding in
Section 4.
J. Pahl, T. Reiners, and S. Vo (Eds.): INOC 2011, LNCS 6701, pp. 98104, 2011.
c Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011


FTTH Network Design under OA&M Constraints

99

2 Mathematical Modelling
2.1 K-Level PON Network Design
PON are specific multi-level point to multipoint architectures dedicated to optical fibers.
Precisely, their basic principle is the following: each optical fiber originating from the
core1 network (the optical entry point of the core network being called a NRO) will go
through a sequence of passive network elements called optical splitters before reaching
multiple subscriber households in the end. When going through a splitter, an incoming
fiber is divided/multiplied into several outgoing fibers, this multiplicative factor being
a positive integer (called capacity of the splitter). We stress the fact that all fibers coming
out from a splitter are not necessarily used. Finally, in the following, the number of
levels of a PON architecture will refer to the size of the sequence of splitters. For the
sake of clarity, an illustration is given in Figure 1.

Fig. 1. Example of a PON architecture with three levels of splitters with respective capacities 4,
2 and 4

In such context, the PON design problem consists of delivering fibers to a set of
located households and can be seen as a joint problem of spitters (of each level) location and fibers (of each level) routing. We take as basis the model introduced by [5,6]
for a two-level architecture and, due to space limitations, refer to these articles for detailed aspects. We first propose to extend this formulation to a K-level architecture.
Let G = (V, E) be an undirected graph representing an existing infrastructure (e.g. the
legacy copper network) and be , e E be the remaining capacity (in number of fibers).
Concerning the demand for fibers, let D V denote the set of demand nodes with an
associated demand ai , i D (we assume that individual household demands for one
fiber have already been aggregated by building or neighborhood). As decision variables,
we denote by zki the number of splitters of level k = 1..K installed at site i V , knowing
that only the set of sites S k V is eligible to store level-k splitters, of capacity mk and
unitary cost Ck . Likewise, we denote by fkij the number of fibers of level k = 1..K + 1
going from site i to site j (uki being the number of unused fibers), of unitary routing
1

A core network is the central part of an end to end network, generally interconnecting large
cities.

100

M. Chardy and C. Hervet

cost dikj . The K-level PON design problem can be formulated as follows (denoted as
PON K ):

min
f,z

Ck zki +

k=1..K iS k

such that :

dikj (fkij + fkji )

f1i j

i S 1

(1)

fkij + uki

k = 2..K, i S k

(2)

fiK+1
+ uiK+1
j

i D

(3)

[i, j] E

(4)

j|[i, j]E

= zki +

j|[i, j]E

[i, j]E k=1..K+1

f1ji = z1i +

j|[i, j]E
fkji + mk1 zk1
i

j|[i, j]E

fK+1
+ mK zK
i = ai +
ji

j|[i, j]E

j|[i, j]E

(fkij + fkji ) bi j

k=1..K+1

=0
zki , uk+1
i
zki ,

uk+1
, fkij
i

k = 1..K, i
/ Sk

(5)

k = 1..K, i S , [i, j] E

2.2 PON Network Design under OA&M Constraints


We propose models for PON design problems taking OA&M concerns into account.
As we think that OA&M costs are not comparable with deployment CAPEX costs, we
favor an integration of such considerations through additional constraints to PON K .
OA&M and the Splitter Delocation Rule: Considering both network administration (ease of fault detection) and customer relationship (equity in user experience), network managers appreciate that subscribers of the same area (building or neighborhood)
have the same connection. This is classically achieved by mono-routing strategies in
multiflow-based network design problems. When dealing with PON architectures, such
a strategy would imply that both optical routes and location of splitters be the same and
would be detrimental in terms of costs. Therefore, they push for the following compromise: when a demand at a given demand node exceeds a certain value (called delocation
threshold) then all clients of this node must be served by fibers of the last2 levels initiated by splitters located at the demand node. Let {e0 = +, e1 , ..., eK } be the set of
delocation thresholds (positive integers sorted in decreasing order). For any demand
node i D, let kimax denote the maximum index k such that the threshold ek exceeds the
demand value ai (kimax = maxk=1,...,K (ai < ek )), then the splitter delocation rule can
be formulated as follows:
k+1
zk+1
k = (kimax + 1), ..., K, with the convention zK+1
= ai
f[i,i] =
i
 i

(6)
a
i
zki =
k = (kimax + 1), ..., K
K mj
j=k

OA&M and the Household Grouping Rule: PON deployment strategies driven by
CAPEX costs can lead to an important scattering of the splitters among the eligible
2

last is to be defined demand node by demand node, according to the demand value.

FTTH Network Design under OA&M Constraints

101

storing sites. Be they CAPEX costs optimum, those deployment schemes should be
avoided regarding the future maintenance costs (technicians rounds). Therefore, considering PON deployments, network managers push for the following requirement: a
site can be chosen for storing splitters of a given level only if these installed splitters deliver fibers for a minimum number of households (called household grouping
threshold for this level). Let us introduce the household grouping thresholds for level
k = 1..K, denoted by HGk and let vki be a binary variable equal to 1 if the site i S k is
opened to splitters of level k, 0 otherwise. The OA&M household grouping constraints
can thus be formulated by means of the following logical constraints:



K
k
k
j k
(7)
vi = 1 HG m zi k = 1, ..., K, i S k
j=k

Proposition 1. Constraints (7) can be linearized as follows:


bi j , k = 1

k M k vk
k , with M k =

j=i
z
k
=
1..K,
i

i i
i
i
mk1 Mik1 , k 2


k

HG

vki zki k = 1..K, i S k

Kj=k m j

(8)

Furthermore, such constraints can lead to the installation of artificial splitters, these
splitters being unused but installed simply in order to satisfy the previous constraints.
We thus have to introduce the following constraints:
uki mk 1k = 1, ..., K, i S k
In the following, PON

K
OAM

refers to the PON

(9)

model with (6), (8) and (9).

3 Numerical Tests
Tests are performed on 10 real-life instances. These are selected so as to be representative of two types of areas where FTTH PON deployment is impending: first local
areas of very high density of population (Net1 -Net5 ) and second, local areas of moderate density of population (Net6 -Net10 ). Features of these instances are synthesized in
columns instance of Table 1. Objectives of these tests are first to assess the efficiency
of branch and bound approaches for PON KOAM . Then, we give an insight into the
CAPEX overcosts implied by OA&M. Note that CPLEX is used for MIP solving.
3.1 Numerical Results
In this section, results are presented for the whole set of instances, on the basis of a
2-level architecture with m1 = m2 = 8. The computation time limit is set to 1 hour.
Furthermore, we instantiate OA&M rules as follows: first, the splitter delocation rule
with the thresholds set {e0 = e1 = +, e2 = 1}, which means that all the level-2 splitters are forced to be located at the demand node they serve, and that the location of

102

M. Chardy and C. Hervet


Table 1. Computational results
PON K problem

Instance
Name |V | |E| Demand
Net 1
Net 2
Net 3
Net 4
Net 5
Net 6
Net 7
Net 8
Net 9
Net 10

52
235
322
392
229
602
234
955
449
117

65
313
421
537
297
730
297
1173
562
160

1828
12604
16068
22326
11946
8778
2345
14000
5652
1147

K
PONOAM
problem

UBK

LBK

gapK

UBK
OAM

LBK
OAM

gapK
OAM

32933
243182
315282
440180
230444
185222
48593
296608
115188
22948

32933
242711
314503
438797
230010
183494
48199
293222
114030
22731

0.00
0.19
0.25
0.31
0.19
0.93
0.81
1.14
1.01
0.94

36294
256723
333294
461903
243974
208813
56011
334011
130866
25029

36294
256414
332362
460952
243667
204615
55481
328842
129241
25029

0.00
0.12
0.28
0.21
0.13
2.01
0.95
1.55
1.24
0.00

Overcost (%)
(

U BKOAM LBK
)
U BKOAM

9.26
5.46
5.64
5.00
5.72
12.13
13.95
12.21
12.87
9.18

the level-1 splitters remains unconstrained


 value); second, the
 (whatever the demand
household grouping rule with the set HG1 = 200, HG2 = 1 . As for results, three
K
indicators are given in each column PONOAM
problem and PON K problem (given
as a reference): UB refers to the best solution found and gap (in %) to the relative
difference between the best upper and lower bound (noted LB).
Our first observation is that branch and bound approaches prove efficient for solving PON KOAM (mean final gap of 0.6%), despite hardly ever proving the optimality
of the best solution found (only on the smallest instance of each category). Second, results suggest that the introduction of OA&M constraints has little impact on practical
complexity (the two problems having the same theoretical one). Concerning overcosts,
we observe a mean Max overcost of 9.1% for this OA&M setting (note that this noticeably varies with the type of area: mean ratio of 0.5). This suggests that OA&M
considerations do not induce too overcostly deployments. This is analysed next.
3.2 Impact of OA&M Constraints
We base this sensitivity analysis on the OA&M setup previously defined. Computation
time is limited to 10 minutes. We focus on instances Net4 and Net9 (1 of each category),
for which we observe the evolution of the overcost with respect to (i) the architecture
for the splitter delocation (SD) rule, (ii) the grouping threshold for the household
grouping (HG) rule (see. respectively Figures 2 and 3). These results first enable us
to highlight the partial contribution of each rule and the fact that, within the previous
setting, the SD rule is far more detrimental (in terms of CAPEX overcosts) than the
HG rule. Concerning the SD rule, two main observations are drawn: first, the induced
overcosts are almost linear with respect to the level-2 splitters capacity; second, a drastic
difference exists between the two (type of) instances, suggesting that the SD rule has a
reasonable impact on overcosts for areas of high density (< 10% even when m2 = 32)
whereas a potentially highly detrimental one on those of lower density. This leads us to
recommend further analysis before imposing it for operational deployments on areas of
moderate population density. Concerning the HG rule, we first highlight the moderate
we first highlight the moderate overcosts induced, whatever the type of instance (< 10%

FTTH Network Design under OA&M Constraints

Fig. 2. Impact of the SD rule according to


PON architectures (the cumulative splitting
ratio is 1:64 and the HG rule is relaxed)

103

Fig. 3. Impact of the HG rule according to


the household threshold of level-1 splitters
(the SD rule is relaxed)

even for thresholds > 3500). Consequently, and due to the strictly concave curves, we
recommend operational units not to hesitate considering quite high thresholds (between
1500 and 2000), thinking of maintenance round costs savings due to the decrease in the
number of splitters storing sites. Second we stress the fact that very high thresholds lead
to problem infeasibility, which was expected regarding the capacity constraints.

4 Conclusions
This paper focuses on FTTH PON design problems, which are of major importance for
telecommunication operators. Mixed integer formulations have been proposed, with the
aim of introducing specific constraints derived from OA&M considerations. Numerical
tests performed on real-life data prove the efficiency of branch and bound approaches
and a short insight into the overcosts induced by OA&M enables us to draw initial
operational recommendations, whose confirmation and extension appear a natural and
necessary prospect for this work.

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M. Chardy and C. Hervet

6. Chardy, M., Costa, M.-C., Faye, A., Trampont, M.: Optimizing the deployment of a multilevel
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(cited February 4, 2011)