Concepts and Methods for the Resource-efficient Improvement of Germany's Broadband Infrastructure

Infrastructure networks can be considered the largest civil infrastructure systems. Fiber-optic access networks, representing one category of general infrastructure networks, are the backbone of the future digital society. Increasing data rates and data volume require the rollout of powerful fiber-optic access networks to buildings and homes (“Fiber-To-The-Building”). Rolling out fiber-optic access networks causes high costs – about 70% of which caused by civil engineering activities – associated with high risks that cannot be calculated reliably with concepts and methods currently available. A detailed technical planning is required, which takes into account several boundary conditions, such as geographic locations and usage at the network termination units, paths and properties of existing infrastructure (e.g. roads and pedestrian ways, empty conduits, railway lines, waterways) and local soil profiles. These boundary conditions lead to the complex optimization problem "fiber-optic access network planning", where planning must be executed reliable and quickly; on the other hand, it must be cost-efficient for the operators.

This research focuses on the development of an integrated approach towards resource-optimized fiber-optic access network planning. The approach combines (i) existing information from digital maps, (ii) regional and local information (i.e. existing infrastructures, such as roads, buildings, empty conduits, and soil profiles) and (iii) actual cost functions from cable and pipeline construction. The development and adaptation of specific optimization algorithms enables automated fiber-optic access network planning for urban areas. In addition, risk analyses allow for a reliable assessment of the generated plan. The results can be visualized via standard web interfaces and provided to operators for further evaluation and detailed planning. As an outcome of this research project, as preliminary results indicate, a holistic and practically validated concept is expected, which allows for efficient planning of cost-optimal fiber-optic access network rollouts. It is further expected that the results will provide solutions being affordable for operators on the long term, which may facilitate the nationwide rollout of high-speed fiber-optic access networks.

Figure 1: Visualization of a fiber-optic access network connected to three separate distribution points (red, yellow, blue)
Figure 2: Visualization of a fiber-optic access network with one main distribution point

Project type
Cooperation with the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences

2014 - 2018

Project-related publications (selection)

  • Wiggenbrock, J., 2017. Rational planning of fiber optic giga networks [Rationale Planung von Glasfaser-Giganetzen]. In: Proceedings of the 29th Forum Bauinformatik. Dresden, Germany, 09/06/2017 (submitted).
  • Wiggenbrock, J. & Smarsly, K., 2016. Integrated visualization of installation plans and installation costs of fiber optic networks. In: Proceedings of the 10th ITG Conference "Broadband Access in Germany 2016". Berlin, Germany, 04/18/2016.

Professor Dr. Kay Smarsly
Bauhaus University Weimar
Computing in Civil Engineering
Coudraystraße 7, Room 517
99423 Weimar
Email: kay.smarsly[at]

Professor Dr. Stephan Breide
South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences
Broadband Competence Center NRW
Lindenstr. 53, Room 1.3.14
59872 Meschede
Email: breide.stephan[at]

Jens Wiggenbrock, M.Sc., B.Eng.
South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences
Lindenstr. 53, Room MJ.5
59872 Meschede
Email: wiggenbrock[at]