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Archive | August, 2016

Construction of the FairlawnGig® Network is Underway!

The FairlawnGig Network Construction Process

The FairlawnGig fiber network will pass every residence and business in Fairlawn and the Akron/Bath/Fairlawn JEDD. Most of the network will be buried underground in the right-of-way adjacent to each street. There will be more than 57 miles of fiber optic cable buried throughout Fairlawn to complete the network.

The FairlawnGig service area has been divided into twelve neighborhoods. This is illustrated on our service area map. Each neighborhood will be built out completely and then connected to a core fiber ring that runs through the entire city.

There are several steps to the construction process and it will take some time to complete. We are going as fast as possible, but this work must be done safely and accurately. We have separate crews doing construction in three different neighborhoods.

Locating and Marking Existing Utilities

 

locating utilties

Marking the existing utilities is the first step of FairlawnGig network construction in your neighborhood. There may be other utility infrastructure buried in the right-of-way. It is important to understand the location of any existing utilities such as gas line, water lines, or cable TV before digging in the right-of-way. The paint on the sidewalk or in the right of way, and the little flags are used to indicate where the other infrastructure is located. These markings help our construction crews avoid disturbing or damaging other utilities.

Construction crews will begin work after each area has been marked by a utility locating service.

Directional Boring and Conduit Installation

 

fiber construction directional boring

Though most of the FairlawnGig network will be buried underground, we will not be digging open trenches or opening up many city streets in order to build the network. The primary construction method used is directional boring. Construction crews will dig a smaller hole in the right-of-way, drill down to the proper level, and then drill horizontally to connect to another smaller hole in the right-of-way several hundred feet down the street. Directional boring allows the construction crews to drill under driveways and streets without disturbing the roadway.

Flexible plastic pipe, conduit, is used to fill the hole and create space for the fiber cable. Extra conduit is installed to allow for future expansion and repair.

Pulling the Fiber Cable

 

pulling the fiber

Once the conduit is installed, construction crews will pull the fiber optic cable through the conduit. Many different sized cables are used. The core ring consists of fiber cable with 576 separate strands of fiber. Out in the neighborhoods smaller and smaller bundles of fiber are split off and used to distribute the network. 24-strand cable may run down your street and ultimately two strands may be used to connect to your home.

Each time the fiber is cut, these individual strands of fiber must be spliced together to maintain continuity, or they must be terminated and connected to a fiber switch.

Network Test and Verification

 

fairlawngig fiber network
The FairlawnGig Data Center is already operational and includes state-of-the-art switching, routing and fiber transmission electronics. In each of the twelve neighborhoods, there is a small cabinet that houses electronics for splitting out and splicing the network into smaller fiber bundles for the local access network; and repeating and regenerating signals on the fiber cable. This is called a local convergence point cabinet or LCP cabinet.

The fiber connection between the data center and the neighborhood LCP cabinet must be continuous. Individual ports on the data center switches need to be connected to specific ports on the neighborhood LCP. Testing is done to verify that every endpoint in the neighborhood is connected to the proper port on the data center switch and can receive a fiber signal of appropriate strength. FairlawnGig will monitor the network continuously, and during this testing stage will verify that it is possible to monitor and manage each port in the neighborhood individually.

Once this testing and verification is complete, FairlawnGig service can begin in the neighborhood.

Connecting Homes and Businesses

The FairlawnGig network will run down the street past every home or business in Fairlawn. For those who want FairlawnGig service, we need to connect your location to the network. In residential areas there will usually be a connection point for every four houses. Our construction crews will bury a cable in your yard and connect it to a small box on the outside of your house. This is a single cable buried in your yard, similar to cable TV coming from the street into your house or an electric dog fence.

Those homes and businesses who connect to the electrical utility from overhead poles will also get FairlawnGig service from overhead. The FairlawnGig cable will follow the same path as the electric utility cable and connect to a small box on the outside of your building.

FairlawnGig needs a Right of Entry agreement in order to do this work on your house or business. That is one of the reasons we are accepting sign-ups now, before construction is complete. Once we have a Right of Entry for your property, we can schedule the outside part of your install while the construction crews are in the area.

Restoration

After construction is complete, the City of Fairlawn Service Department will restore any areas that were disturbed during the construction process to their previous beauty.

Getting Closer to FairlawnGig® Fiber in Your Backyard: What We’ve Been Accomplishing

Things have been busy at FairlawnGig. We have been designing and building the essential components necessary to operate and manage the FairlawnGig network and begin offering Internet services to the community. Building the FairlawnGig data center, establishing connectivity to the Internet and wireless work on the Fairlawn tower were key activities during the past few months.

 

Data Center

One of the most important aspects of FairlawnGig is the data center. Located in the Fairlawn Department of Public Service building, this state-of-the-art facility is the heart of our network. All of the fiber from the entire network will run into the data center. The switches and routers that control the network are in the data center. FairlawnGig is an always-on, non-stop network. All of networking systems are designed to be resilient, and the data center has its own backup power capability. We have already survived a six hour power outage at the City without dropping FairlawnGig service for a moment.

fairlawngig data center

A key function of the data center is to manage and monitor the FairlawnGig network. In addition to our local management of the network through the data center, we are also supported by our design, build partner Fujitsu Network Communications. Fujitsu has a nationwide Network Operations Center (NOC) in Texas that monitors all aspects of the FairlawnGig network from the fiber in your neighborhood, to the equipment in the field necessary to operate the fiber, and every piece of equipment in the data center. The NOC can identify issues with the network early—usually before they are visible to a customer.

Connectivity to the Internet

FairlawnGig is a modern, multi-gigabit fiber optic network that covers the entire City. It is crucial to connect this wonderful network to the rest of the world in a high performance way. We have established two multi gigabit connections to the Internet from our data center with different providers and more Internet connections from other providers will be coming soon.

fairlawngig construction

Early Customer Service

As we bring the data center online and connect with our Internet partners, it is important to thoroughly test these capabilities to ensure that FairlawnGig will deliver the fastest, most reliable service possible when we take on paying customers. The City of Fairlawn has already switched to FairlawnGig Internet service as the main City campus was already connected to the Data Center with fiber. We established a temporary fiber link to the Akron-Fairlawn Hilton and Doubletree hotels and have been offering service there for a few weeks. We also have a few businesses in the area who are receiving service wirelessly so that they can begin using FairlawnGig service now, before the fiber is built to their offices.

fairlawngig construction

What’s Next?

In early August, construction crews will begin building the FairlawnGig fiber network out into neighborhoods. If you sign up for FairlawnGig, we will contact you directly to let you know when construction will be happening in your neighborhood and when you can upgrade to FairlawnGig’s unparalleled Internet service.

Stay tuned for more information. It has taken a while to progress to this point, but soon we will be moving at the speed of light!


 

FairlawnGig® Wi-Fi in the Park

wifi in centennial park fairlawnWe installed a few FairlawnGig access points in Bicentennial Park for the 4th of July parade and fireworks. The City will keep this Wi-Fi demonstration network active in the park through the summer. “FairlawnGig Guest” is the name of the network. There is no password or log in required.

Stop by the park and experience this preview of FairlawnGig’s wireless service. It’s faster than LTE and there are no data caps.