Bespoke FTTP equipment enclosures boost productivity and increase competitive edge

Customised cabinets plus fit-out, comprehensive implementation and maintenance services are helping a leading broadband provider rapidly install much-needed fibre to the property (FTTP) networks in rural regions

Bespoke enclosures and services from ICEE support Gigaclear in delivering ultrafast fibre broadband to rural Britain

or bespoke solutions, but also a complete range of implementation, ongoing maintenance and lifecycle facilities management, which Gigaclear uses.

THE BESPOKE ALTERNATIVE Fibre optic broadband technology is characterised by rapid and unrelenting change. Equipment and systems soon become outdated by important functional and performance advances. New kit may be bigger, require additional fans for cooling, or connections and mountings may be different. More cooling often makes more noise, so acoustic panels may


igaclear is a leading provider of ultrafast, full-fibre broadband services to rural

communities in the United Kingdom. The company already serves more than 75,000 homes and businesses in twenty-two counties, mostly across central and southern England. Now engaged in further major expansion, it aims to connect over 300,000 rural properties in the UK within the next three years. Bespoke equipment enclosures and key support services from ICEE Managed Services are helping the network provider achieve its ambitious goals. Gigaclear launched in 2010 and chose to

work with ICEE for two reasons. First, to develop a range of standards-compliant, bespoke equipment enclosures designed to meet its own exacting requirements. Standard cabinets had limitations and the manufacturer offered flexible and affordable customisation. “We make and fit-out a wide range of type-

approved equipment enclosures for several industry sectors, but – using advanced methods - we also quickly construct whatever a customer wants. Gigaclear said ‘we want this type of cabinet with these features and certification’. We designed and made what they specified,” says Paul Harris, ICEE’s managing director. Bespoke is his company’s speciality: “It makes

little difference to us in time and cost between making standard or customised. Any marginal or additional cost is more than offset through benefits gained by the customer, including getting exactly what it wants.” Second, besides providing a complete

manufacturing service including fit-out and testing, ICEE is a highly experienced and well-established systems integrator serving the telecom and related data industries. It offers customers not only a wide choice of standard


have to be added to cabinets. What’s more, unlike pliable copper cables, fibre optic cabling requires careful routing – it cannot be bent tightly, or its shape contorted, as with copper. Additionally, with consumer demand quickening, connections increase. Fibre optic cable can take up a lot of space. All that has a big impact on cabinet design

and upgrading equipment in the field. The latter work has to be done efficiently but carefully as service outage is totally unacceptable. In short, continual review is vital to maintain competitive edge and service excellence. Gigaclear’s network project manager,

Mark Pigott says: “The existing cabinets from ICEE were fit for purpose from day one, when relatively small devices were housed. But as the company has grown and technology has changed, more items of equipment and cabling have to be accommodated. In effect, we outgrew our first-generation design.” In writing a requirements brief for a

second generation of bespoke enclosures, Pigott worked closely with field engineers to understand what improvements were essential and productive. A simple example: careful design of mountings or cable management allows for quick and flexible changes – such as swapping-out obsolete kit for the latest devices, or adding more connections and cabling. CAD and actual prototypes were constructed by ICEE, tested by Gigaclear’s engineers and best outcomes applied.

BOTTOM LINE BENEFITS In design terms, the limitations of standard enclosures has been eliminated, replaced

3D CAD model of a bespoke ICEE enclosure helps optimise the configuration of closely packed fibre optic broadband equipment


by the flexibility of bespoke and getting exactly what Gigaclear wanted. Hard to quantify, customisation improves productivity as a cabinet’s internals are easier to work on. Changes and upgrades in the field are faster, the latter often done by ICEE during planned preventative maintenance (PPM) visits. The latest bespoke cabinets cope with more thermal load and keep equipment cooler, using less energy - important as summers get hotter. Improved power longevity has been achieved.

Pigott says in rural areas power cuts are always a risk. Gigaclear’s bespoke cabinets contain higher endurance batteries. In an emergency, the equipment will run longer than a day in some configurations, without being supported by external power. This allows enough time for same-day servicing. Strategically, in working with ICEE, Gigaclear

has been able to reduce operational risk throughout the network, helping improve service reliability. Operationally, Gigaclear has gained high quality enclosure assets and support facilities that fully sustain its ambitions. It all contributes significant value to the network provider’s competitive edge.

ICEE Managed Services T: 02392 230 604

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