01 Jun What job roles does OTT certified optical network training prepare you for?
Optical Technology Training (OTT) courses prepare candidates for a variety of key roles in optical communications. Driven by the growing demand for higher speed access networks and private and public cloud data centers, transport networks are not only expanding in size but are also getting more and more complex. While 10Gb/s transmission systems will remain relevant for the foreseeable future, networks are also being required to transport higher data rates of 100Gb/s and beyond. For example, several network operators such as Bell Canada, Telia Carrier and ZAYO offer 400Gb/s wavelength services along with 100Gb/s and 10Gb/s services. Meanwhile, some of these operators are actively working on 800Gb/s to keep up with the ever-growing demand for higher speed transmission. On the other hand, service providers such as Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and vendor neutral colocation data center providers are developing higher speed networks within their data centers and in data center interconnection links. In mobile access, 5G will never materialize as envisaged without high-speed core and x-haul (front haul, mid haul, or back haul) networks. All these developments and challenges create great opportunities for well-trained optical network professionals who can keep abreast with the ever-evolving networking technologies.
Optical Technology Training (OTT) offers, through licensed providers around the world, a range of certified training programs in optical communications. More importantly, OTT’s training content is continuously being updated so that the trainee is a step ahead of the industry changes. Whether you are new to optical communications, plan to change roles or you are an experienced professional needing certification and to upgrade your knowledge and remain relevant, OTT training is available for installers, testers, planners, and designers. In this article, the focus is on the roles for which OTT optical networking certifications, CONA and CONE, are recommended.
CONA (Certified Optical Network Associate)
While there is so much focus on higher transmission systems, 10Gb/s and 25Gb/s systems will remain relevant for a long time. A Certified Optical Network Associate has the basic knowledge in optical networking with a focus on core networks based on direct detection. The CONA should be able to identify issues associated with both fiber optic infrastructure and electronic systems that enable successful deployment of efficient networks including metro networks, fiber to the antenna, data center interconnects and dark fiber connections. Typical job roles for a CONA include network planner, network operation professional, network project manager and network manager.
The network planner helps to develop, plan, and implement the organization’s overall networking goals. The planner should be capable of developing and issuing network plans for use by network engineering and construction. S/he evaluates the network against current and future organizational requirements and recommends any upgrades or changes. Typical tasks of a network planner include:
- Working with the network architect to plan the organization’s network.
- Evaluating vendor products against network requirements, International standards and cost and recommending purchases pursuant to network budget
- Working with others to review the optical infrastructure and network test results against the organization’s requirements and International standards.
- Preparing Bill of Materials (BOM) and Statement of Work (SOW) for complex network upgrades and expansion projects
- Approving third party network designs, conducting site walks, permitting, and performing quality assurance inspections.
- Working with the network architect and/or project manager to develop network budgets for network upgrades or for green field network deployment.
- Assisting with short term, medium term, and long-term traffic projection modeling against network performance
- Liaising with vendors, suppliers, service providers and other external entities to ensure that contractual obligations are adhered to.
Network operation engineer
The network operations engineer works with network planning and design personnel to ensure that the network is operating as expected. The professional should be capable of troubleshooting the network in the event of failures, identify the root cause and work with others to resolve the problems. The network operation engineer must be familiar with a wide range of concepts associated with network operations including optical network management software and OTDR based Network Monitoring Systems (NMS). Network operation professionals’ tasks include:
- Ensuring stable and reliable network operation against promised Quality of Service (QoS)
- Prompt investigation of network issues and leading any necessary mitigation actions and escalate issues to relevant teams if necessary
- Working with other teams to implement network augmentations or expansions, transmission path changes and network grooming when necessary, to improve the health of the network
- Installing and maintaining the network analysis, troubleshooting, and reporting software as required
- Promptly responding to customer (internal or external) technical queries and escalate technical support tickets to others if necessary
Network project manager
The network project manager plans, manages and executes all aspects of the network project lifecycles – from inception through commissioning and handover to the customer (internal or external). The project manager should develop project plans and deliver the network solution on time and within budget. The network project manager should not only possess project management skills but should also be conversant with fundamental aspects of optical networking. CONA introduces all aspects of optical networking knowledge required by network project managers. Network project manager tasks include:
- Defining the network project scope and determining available resources. S/he monitors vendor delivery times and associated risks with a view to setting realistic time estimates for project milestones
- Organizing and identifying staffing requirements from a matrix of relevant departments
- Controlling time management and ensuring that all deadlines are adhered to
- Making accurate cost estimates for all aspects of the network development and developing the network budget
- Analyzing and managing project risk, for example, by ensuring that the project has alternative suppliers for all key equipment and fiber cable
- Delivering regular project updates to all stakeholders to provide a high level of transparency on schedules, budgeting and risks
- Ensuring customer (internal or external) satisfaction by ensuring that the project meets or exceeds internal specifications, QoS guarantees and International standards
Managers of optical network professionals should not only possess leadership and people skills but should have a basic understanding of optical networking. CONA offers the fundamentals of optical networking required by all network managers. The network manager provides leadership and technical mentorship to their subordinates. In addition to keeping abreast of the ever-changing optical networking technologies, the network manager should initiate staff development programs for employees to keep up to date with emerging network technologies.
Certified optical network Engineer (CONE)
CONE is an advanced course in optical networking in which delegates learn how optical networking technology can meet the challenges of more capacity, longer reach networks, more flexibility, mitigating latency, providing better QoS and going open and interoperable. All of this while developing cost effective networks and reducing the amount of electrical power consumed. CONE delegates learn how the combination of coherent technology and digital signal processing is transforming optical networking at data rates of 100Gb/s, 400Gb/s, 800Gb/s and beyond. The delegate will understand how optical and electronic technologies are used together to overcome limitations. The delegate will appreciate how Software Defined Networking (SDN) is instrumental in enabling open systems such as Open ROADMs and white box solutions. CONE seeks to prepare professionals to take up different positions, including network architect, network designer and optical network engineer.
Network designers are responsible for designing the network layout that includes all the network elements. Network designers design different types of networks including LAN, data center networks, metropolitan networks, terrestrial long-haul networks, and high-capacity submarine networks. Using drawing software such as AutoCAD, they create field maps showing fiber routes and locations of modules such as optical amplifiers, ROADMs, etc. The designer should not only be conversant with the organization’s preferred design software but also have a solid understanding of advanced optical networking. CONE offers the depth of optical networking knowledge required by optical network designers.
The job responsibilities of a network designer include:
- Generating design drawings that depict all network details including fiber routes, location of conduits and manholes, location of poles in the case of overhead fiber installation, location of splice trays, location of patch panels and other ISP equipment and location of networking facilities
- Performing field checks, including the collection of GPS data from municipal databases, to verify location of existing and future networking facilities.
- Working with others such as civil authorities, planning, project management, and architecture, select best networking products, obtain permitting and obtain right of way approvals
- Understanding new technologies including design principles, International standards and installation practices and the organization’s networking goals with a view to updating network designs to meet new challenges
- Creating, updating and archiving network documentation including blueprints, notes and records
Network architects are highly knowledgeable and often highly paid professionals responsible for leading the network design and deployment. They are not only proficient in optical networking but also understand the organization’s business plan so that the networks they build are commensurate with business requirements. They ensure that networks are secure and efficient by working with operation staff to monitor network performance and upgrading network equipment as required.
Tasks of the network architect include:
- Responsibility for the designing, architecture, integration, and performance of the organization’s network
- Analyzing different conventional and emerging network architectural approaches and models and determining the best fit for the organization
- Serve as Subject Matter Expert (SME) and provide technical support and guidance to planning, implementation and deployment staff
- Responsible for the organization’s test labs and leads the operation of existing test beds and the development of new testing methodologies
Optical network engineer
An optical network engineer is a highly skilled technology professional responsible for any or a combination of different roles including network planning, network designing, implementation, or maintenance of an optical network. Optical network engineers ensure that networks operate properly in terms of the services that run over them – including video, data, and voice.
Other optical network professional positions
Different organizations may advertise different position titles for specific roles that may be similar to those discussed here or that may combine tasks from the above roles. Some of the common titles for which OTT optical network training can prepare you include:
- Data center WAN service engineer
- Optical transport network engineer
- Network development engineer
- Optical network planning and design engineer
- Consulting optical engineer
- Long haul network engineer
- OTN engineer
- NOC engineer
- OSP designer
- OSP engineer
- Backhaul engineer
- Xhaul engineer
To learn more about OTT optical network training programs visit our optical network training page or visit OTT for a complete list of certified training programs.
Founder and Technical Director at FiberGuide, Lecturer, Scientist and Engineer. Passionate about optical networking and information and communication technologies. Connect with me on Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jabulani-dhliwayo-1570b5b