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Designing a high-rise network, with Optigo Connect

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

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Building a bid with Optigo Connect? Whether you’re designing a network for a big or small building, a new project or retrofit — Optigo Connect Spectra and Hybrid have you covered.

In this webinar session, we delved into a high-rise network. Watch the recording, or read on to learn about key network considerations.

Design assistance form

Our design assistance form makes it easy to fill in the blanks and understand the building’s needs from top to bottom. Check out the sample assistance form that we used on this webinar, and download our blank assistance form to use for your own building networks. 

Our sample building was a high-rise with 30 floors. We said that it was currently a single tower, with two towers to be built in the future. That meant that future expandability and flexibility was critical. This was a brand new building with no existing cabling, but our example customer preferred a fiber backbone. There would be 3–4 controllers on every floor, and the uptime requirements were unknown. There was a panel on each floor for the devices, and a control room. Power over Ethernet (PoE) was not required for this network. 

How to design Optigo Connect document

Our guide to designing for Optigo Connect is a very useful resource that dives into great detail about Optigo Connect and key building network considerations. Refer to the Hybrid and Spectra decision tree in that guide to better understand the differences between the two solutions. 

Network topologies

Possible network topologies for Optigo Connect include star, self-healing ring, and daisy-chain. The star and self-healing ring topologies are commonly used in low-rise or wide-footprint buildings, such as data centers, shopping centres, and airports or campuses. The daisy-chain topology is used in high-rise buildings.

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

Shopping lists

We have shopping lists available to help guide you through the standard Bill of Materials for high-rise a building, a high-rise with redundancy, and a low-rise building. Learn more, and download the guides.

Selecting Edge Switches

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

All Optigo Connect Spectra networks require a Network Controller (ONS-NC600) and Spectra Aggregation Switch (ONS-S8).

Learn more about these devices in our playlist of videos on the Optigo Connect family.

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

The ONS-S8 can run eight lines of fiber. In this case, we’ll run two lines of fiber: one for the first 15 floors of the high-rise, and another for final 15 floors. 

Once those pieces of the network are in place, it’s time to choose Edge Switches. 

The Optigo Connect Edge Switches are essentially divided between DIN rail- and rack-mounted options. The industrial, DIN rail-mounted switches include the ONS-C401i, ONS-C801pi, and ONS-C1601pi.

ONS-C401i ONS-C801pi ONS-C1601pi
4 Ethernet ports 8 Ethernet ports 16 Ethernet ports
DIN rail-mounted
No PoE PoE
Power supply sold separately

The rack-mounted switches include the ONS-C810p, ONS-C2401p, and the ONS-C4801p. 

ONS-C810p ONS-C2401p ONS-C4801p
8 Ethernet ports 24 Ethernet ports 48 Ethernet ports
Internal supply

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

Because we know we don’t need Power over Ethernet for this project, and there aren’t any specific space constraints, our options are wide open. We opted for the ONS-C801pi in this case, because it leaves our options open to future expansion without overplanning for the future. That leaves us 240 ports (30 8-port switches spanning the tower), 90–120 of which will be used immediately, and the remaining to grow into over time. The ONS-C801pi also fits nicely in a panel, and leaves room to upgrade to an ONS-1601pi if necessary.


In Spectra systems, every ONS-S8 has 8 passive optical fiber trunk ports, and each fiber trunk port supports 1Gbps upstream and downstream. Optigo OneView makes it easy to track and budget bandwidth use. If you are going to have cameras or large amounts of analytics, you will want to make sure you budget enough bandwidth during the design phase.

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect


Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

The Passive Optical Splitters essentially split the light going through one fiber, into two or more fibers. They are completely passive devices, meaning there are no active components that can fail or deteriorate. These Splitters will work until they are physically impacted and broken.

Splitters allow you to design all different network topologies, and add redundancy to the network. 

In this network, we used asymmetrical Splitters, to ensure every switch receives as much light — not too much or two little — as it needs to run. The two asymmetrical Splitters were the ONS-YPS-2-A05-LR and the ONS-YPS-2-A10-LR.

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

The ONS-YPS-2-A05-LR splits off 5% of the light on a run of fiber to a switch, sending the other 95% along to the next Splitter and switch. On this network, we used seven ONS-YPS-2-A05-LR Splitters for the first seven switches on each run of fiber (for a total of 14 ONS-YPS-2-A05-LRs between both fiber runs).

Next in the run of fiber, we used the ONS-YPS-2-A10-LR Splitters. These split off 10% of the light on a run of fiber to a switch, sending the other 90% along to the next Splitter and Switch. We used six ONS-YPS-2-A10-LR Splitters for the next six switches on each run of fiber (for a total of 12 ONS-YPS-2-A10-LRs between both fiber runs).

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

And finally, we finished each fiber run off with an ONS-YPS-2 (one on each fiber run, and two ONS-YPS-2s total). These Splitters send 50% of the remaining light to one switch, and 50% to another, allowing us to cap it off with two final switches. 

This gives us a total of 30 switches to play with, or one switch per floor. 

It is very important to ensure each splitter is receiving the right amount of light, or “optical budget.” This high-rise example with 15 switches will always work, but the use of Splitters will vary depending on the topology, number of devices, and more. Use the budget calculator to ensure each switch is always receiving the light it needs. This is a sample of our budget calculator, for a 15-floor tower.

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect


Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

We also need Transceiver Plug-Ins, or small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers to connect devices through our Ethernet ports. There are two types of SFPs that will be used on this network: the ONS-SX-SFP and the ONS-CX-SFP. Each fiber run from the ONS-S8 requires an ONS-SX-SFP, so there will be two ONS-SX-SFPs in this design., Each Edge Switch requires 1 ONS-CX-SFP to connect the fiber to the switch, so we will need 30 ONS-CX-SFPs connected to the ONS-C801pi switches in this design. 

It’s important to not mix up these plug-ins, because your network will not run if the wrong transceiver is plugged into a device. Don’t worry, the SFPs are well-labelled, and it’s easy to remember which ones pair with which devices if you remember: 

  • ONS-SX-SFP goes with the ONS-S8,
  • And the ONS-CX-SFP goes with the ONS-C401i/ONS-C801pi/ONS-C2401p

Once you plug in the SFPs, you’re most of the way there! 

Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

Future expansion

If you’re anticipating a need for future expansion, you have a few different options: 

  • Use open ports, if you’ve left some available
  • Trade your current switches for larger switches
  • Add splitters and additional switches
  • Or run a new fiber line from the ONS-S8

If you have no open ports, no unused bandwidth, and you’re using all 8 fiber runs, consider redesigning. 


Designing a high-rise with Optigo Connect

You need a software licence in order to manage your network. One licence is included for the first 100 ports, and a licence must be purchased per additional 100 ports. In this case, we have 240 ports and would need to purchase another two licences. 


There are a few final supplies needed for the network. 

  • The ONS-C801pi requires purchase of an external power supply
  • One coupler is needed for each splitter connection
  • Fiber cleaner is crucial to a successful project and installation. Every site should have one fiber cleaner, and you cannot substitute with a rag, towel, or your shirt.
  • Fiber patch cables allow you to extend or connect fiber
  • And attenuators reduce the light signal when it is too intense

Always have extra patch cables, couplers, and SFPs. They are inexpensive, easy to misplace, and missing or running out of them can significantly delay an installation.

Happy designing! Be sure to refer back to these resources, and reach out if you have any questions. 

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