Product Overview:

AccessPlanner helps network planning engineers to rapidly plan, evaluate, and optimize the design of backhaul networks to carry cellular or PCS traffic from base stations to mobile switching offices. It is offered as a customized product, i.e., it is configured to meet your needs and to take into account the challenges and technologies specific to your backhaul network design problem – e.g., availability of SONET facilities, RAD-RASP technology, microwave links, and so forth. A demonstration version of the software is designed to reduce the costs of leasing facilities (T1s, DS3s, and SONET facilities if available) and equipment (channel termination equipment, MUXs, access ports) from Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) or their competitors. It does so by using mathematical optimization techniques to identify optimal hubbing and interconnect strategies.

Benefits of AccessPlanner:

The two main benefits of using the design tool are:

1. Productivity gains: It makes extremely good use of network engineers’ and planners’ time, allowing them to accomplish in minutes the design and cost estimation tasks that would previously have taken hours or days. The tool is easy to learn and easy to use. The demonstration version is available with a self-explanatory graphic user interface for Microsoft Windows.

2. Solution quality and cost savings: Engineers using the network design tool consistently find designs that are 10%-20% less expensive than the previous best known designs. This is because the tool finds optimal hub location, traffic aggregation, and traffic assignment strategies that can be difficult or impossible to identify based only on experience and intuition, or with less powerful planning tools (e.g., spreadsheet planning models). These strategies can be visually counter-intuitive, since they route traffic so as to make the best possible use of available capacity. However, they typically save at least 10% compared to the best previously identified plans.

How it Works:

The network design tool organizes traffic and demand data, facilities data, and cost data (e.g., fixed charges and per-mile charges from LEC tariff tables) into files that are used to automatically construct a mathematical optimization (large-scale integer programming) problem. Technical details of this step for several types of telecommunications networks can be found in our journal publications. Next, an exact branch-and-bound solution algorithm (for very small problems) or a special type of genetic algorithm (GA) that has proved highly practical for large problems solves the mathematical version of the problem. The solution is then translated into graphical displays and reports for the user. The main technical advantage of this approach, compared to those in other planning tools developed by Telcordia and other consulting companies, is its ability to solve large, real problems quickly to a very close approximation – even when exact solutions may be theoretically difficult or impossible to obtain in practical amounts of time. This technical capability is based on an integration of top expertise in traditional network optimization techniques with recent innovations in genetic algorithms and related “meta-heuristics” for solving practical telecommunications network optimization problems.

What Else It Does:

The backhaul network design tool applies an approach that has been developed and applied successfully to solve other telecommunications network design problems, including:

  • Multi-year network growth planning and capacity planning (for switches, IXC interconnection facilities, and SS7 data networks)
  • Design of digital data service leased-line networks
  • Transit network design for international networks
  • Frame-relay network design and switch planning
  • SONET ring network planning and traffic routing

Customized network design and growth planning software tools can be developed for these or similar network design problems in a matter of weeks, starting from the software (including Visual C++ objects) and experience base incorporated in the backhaul network design tool. These tools have dramatically reduced planning cycle times and reduced costs of new and existing networks in over a dozen real applications.

For a demo of AccessPlanner, please send us an e-mail at: