Data Center Infrastructure Case Study

After beginning a fiber placement project in a massive data center, National Technologies (NTI), a Network Connex company, discovered and resolved a major engineering oversight to save the operator time, money, and resources for their future fiber connectivity.


Over the years, NTI has developed a strong reputation for fiber placement to support connectivity for major data centers and hyperscalers. From inside plant and outside plant, to infrastructure engineering projects, their teams have successfully completed high-profile work around the country on time and within budget. NTI’s long-term relationship with a large, global data center and colocation provider is based upon this reputation. During a typical ISP fiber engagement with this customer, NTI learned of a planned future project that would greatly extend connectivity on the campus.

The Data Center consulted NTI for solution engineering support, where the team brought a critical flaw to the attention of the customer’s data center infrastructure engineers. The Data Center’s private underground duct space was overpopulated with smaller count cables. This meant that there was limited space for the high-capacity fiber NTI would need to install in the upcoming project. Once the interconnection team sounded the alarm about the spatial concerns, NTI was asked to sift through the cables and find the solution.

The Data Center Campus extended across an array of buildings along a one-mile stretch and NTI began an audit of the existing underground connectivity ducts along the path. Along with Data Center engineers, the NTI team also identified poor cable management conditions in the utility holes throughout the campus.

With massive amounts of connectivity needed to power the campus, the limited underground duct space put the Data Center in a bind. A solution would surely be labor intensive and require substantial retooling of the underground fiber spaces. Through their assessment, NTI confirmed that these space limitations would indeed impact future deployment plans.


Once the Data Center and NTI finished their assessment, there were three key challenges to overcome:

The Data Center’s earmarked underground duct spaces were severely overpopulated with smaller count cables. There was nowhere for all of the planned fiber lines to go.

Over the course of a mile on the Data Center campus, the cable organization inside utility holes was troubling at best. None of the holes were safe enough for technicians to place new fiber in the existing underground connectivity ducts.

Initial ideas to retool and freshly build these spaces looked cost-intensive. How could the Data Center stay ahead of the deadline and under budget while getting ready for future deployment?

The Data Center was on track to expand connectivity before an engineering hurdle arose. With only so much space available, NTI was tasked with designing a solution that would hold all of the fiber needed to grow capacity.


Once NTI considered the existing fiber ducts, infrastructure, and anticipated deployment timeline, they found the best solution. They approached the Data Center operator with a fully re-imagined approach: what if the existing small-count fiber was replaced with high-capacity fiber? That way, the existing duct system could still be fully utilized, but capacity would be greatly increased.

The Data Center operator was fully onboard with the strategic choice to re-imagine resources, not reconstruct them. With approval from the customer, NTI re-engineered the connections between every campus building to phase out small-count fiber and replace it with high-count fiber. Once this upgrade was complete, all of the fiber was under a single managed infrastructure. While in each utility hole, NTI also addressed cable management so that the spaces were neat and organized, and safer for technicians to get in and out.

The revamped project strategy delivered even more perks for the Data Center team. Fresh, high-capacity fiber empowered customers to submit orders through the Data Center’s internal portals. It also helped the team leverage customer insights to design optimal internal networks. On the ground, the Data Center could even reroute the traffic throughout the campus to protect vital fiber junctions.

The insight that NTI provided helped enable the Data Center to use what they already had to build for the future. They didn’t have to take on costly underground cabling or tear apart sections of the physical campus in the process. Because of the strategic recommendation to prioritize re-engineering over reconstruction, NTI solved a pressing problem that enabled future interconnection capabilities for years to come.

To keep the Data Center project on time and on budget, NTI’s wealth of experience in turnkey solutions helped the Data Center find a solution that re-used existing resources.



One of the key partnership results of re-engineering the fiber connections on the Data Center Campus was that NTI established the standard construction model for the company for years to come. The turnkey solution saved countless hours and resources while bringing the vision for high-capacity fiber into reality.


  • NTI’s idea to pivot instead of re-build brought big returns and became the cornerstone of the Data Center’s infrastructure enhancement strategy moving forward.
  • In fact, NTI still uses this model today. Since the initial project, they’ve quickly and efficiently built five new Data Center Campuses for the same customer using this future-proof solution for high-capacity fiber. And, each upcoming build is expected to use the proven playbook model with only slight modifications.
  • To learn more about NTI and its full suite of network design, engineering, wireless/fiber
    construction, maintenance, integration, and turnkey solutions capabilities, please visit



OSP Fiber Services

To complete a new route that traverses through major metros in Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama a dark fiber provider relied upon turnkey planning and deployment services from Network Connex to optimize the construction of a new, direct route between several important landing stations in the Southeast.


Hyperscale cloud providers and network carriers are under pressure to provide the high-bandwidth, low-latency connections their customers need to get the most from AI and machine learning technologies. In response they’re leveraging dark fiber networks as an alternative to purchasing lit strands from carriers and by 2032 the global dark fiber market is projected to rise to $20.95 billion USD.

CIPs Blue Ridge Run Network traverses beautiful but challenging terrain in the Southeast US

Bryan McCombs of Critical Infrastructure Partners (CIP), agrees there is a staggering demand for it, with more underground fiber being put into the ground now than ever before. “Dark fiber is the ideal solution for dealing with massive amounts of data that has to traverse between two or more sites,” he says. “It’s the absolute gold standard for delivering the low-latency solutions hyperscalers and carriers need.”

CIP is building The Blue Ridge Run, a 767-mile fiber-optic route running from Northern Virginia to Huntsville, Alabama to serve telecom and hyperscale providers as well as national security agencies in the region. Network Connex was called in to support their team with feasibility studies, fiber engineering, permitting services, and construction for this crucial connectivity project in the Southeastern United States.


While dark fiber may be the optimal choice for transporting the complex, intensive dataloads of AI and machine learning innovations, there are barriers to delivering that value. For dark fiber providers, these include designing intelligent and diverse fiber routes for data to travel, dealing with rocky terrains and gaining right of way (ROW) permissions to pass through properties owned by others.

Some of the most difficult factors in making the site-to-site connections needed for data transmission are planning the route with and alongside existing fiber runs and successfully securing ROW permits in coordination with owners and municipalities.

Where CIP needs to deploy their new route, the terrain was largely solid rock, which makes underground fiber construction very expensive, labor-intensive, and time consuming. There are currently a limited number of operators and heavy equipment to work in that medium.


Network Connex teams dove into the project during the planning phase to conduct a feasibility study that uncovered how the existing network infrastructure has been laid out in the targeted geographic area, and the parties involved in granting ROW access where the route was proposed. This work gathered important information that empowered CIP to design a route that minimized permit applications and identified the shortest logical route to build. Smart planning and design was the best way to safeguard their capital outlay and minimize project implementation time.

Once construction began, the Network Connex team deployed a rare specialty tool to install conduit systems in the hard-rock environments, like the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. As an all-terrain directional drill, the AT120 features the largest inner rod produced to date and is able to bore through all types of ground material to install fiber conduit all along the route. Partnering with Network Connex was key to securing outside plant construction expertise and specialized equipment because this machine is one of only a few on the East coast.

Reels of cable and conduit prepped at a construction site for laying underground fiber network



As the dark fiber provider expanded its commercial network throughout the Southeastern U.S., Network Connex was tasked with providing full turnkey services, including feasibility studies, fiber engineering, permitting services, and OSP construction.


CIP relied on Network Connex as a trusted partner to help them get to market faster with the fiber bandwidth their customers need. “For us, Network Connex conducts feasibility studies to identify roadblocks and advises how to mitigate them. From there, they help us with all aspects of a project, from the engineering and permitting process to land use and the civil construction services to make it happen,” said McCombs. “Their soup-to-nuts approach is a rare thing to find in this industry.”


A hyperscale data center handles the massive load required by AI and machine learning technologies


One legacy service provider sought a partner to execute on their new Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network. The support they found in Network Connex turned their ambitious goals into reality.


Fiber internet, when available, offers more reliable bandwidth at an affordable price to meet demand not just for today, but for decades to come. But historically, broadband connectivity in rural swaths of the U.S. has been either unreliable or simply unavailable. In the modern moment when many employers offer a work from home option and an internet connection can be the sole prerequisite for job opportunities, a lack of dependable, statewide broadband threatens personal and business economics.

Recent legislation in states with expansive rural areas has jumpstarted plans to deploy broadband service for large segments of their citizens. In one southern state, FTTH providers submitted proposals to meet a state-sanctioned broadband goal. Our customer has historically been one of the key FTTH providers statewide. With their roots established in-state in the early 20th century, today their product suite includes highspeed internet, data and cloud connectivity, and voiceover internet telephone solutions.

With this expertise, the internet provider was successful in winning key contracts from the state to expand fiber access. But with hefty network expansion goals and a tight turnaround time, the team needed a partner that could help them expedite the build process. Network Connex’s South Region already had a strong relationship with the provider, and possessed the permitting, internal testing, and equipment installation expertise required for the projects.


Once the fiber internet provider was awarded state broadband projects, there were five key challenges to work through with Network Connex:

Our customer was hungry to be the first FTTH provider in new markets, so Network Connex had to agree to a rigorous deployment timeline with little room for error along the way.

Network Connex was tasked with completing typically inflexible parts of the work, like permitting and engineering plans, within incredibly limited timeframes.

Construction in new geographies always includes a learning curve to find optimal local vendors. Network Connex had to know where to locate those resources, fast.

Since the internet provider was working under an aggressive deadline, Network Connex had to submit accurate, high-level designs with no room for error.

Throughout the project construction, supply chain challenges were rampant around the nation.

The partnership between Network Connex and our customer was integral to expanding residential FTTH service and broadband reach across the state. Network Connex had to tap into their legacy knowledge of planning and installation to thrive under strict deadlines.


Network Connex jumped all in with the rapid pace set for deployment. First, the team focused on delivering accurate, high-level, quality designs which expedited the testing and turn-up portions of projects immensely. The team also had to locate the best vendors in small, rural towns, and maximize existing partnerships with suppliers. All of this was in the midst of national supply chain chaos and shortages. With strong, long-term vendor relationships, Network Connex was able to obtain all materials in good time to meet project deadlines.

Network Connex met our customer where they were to execute on their first-to-market vision. Between permitting and developing engineering plans, the pressure was on, yet the team still excelled. Network Connex helped this rural internet provider to deliver their vision and surpass their quarterly goals.

Today, our customer and Network Connex continue a solid partnership. Since the fiber networks are designed, deployed, and managed by Network Connex, our company knows the network, routing, and access points inside and out and can quickly help with new implementation or maintenance in the areas.

FTTH enables broadband internet for all



As the fiber internet provider expanded its commercial network throughout one southern state, Network Connex was tasked with providing full turnkey services, including permitting through construction, testing, turn-up, splicing, equipment installations, and more.


Together, the fiber internet provider and Network Connex expanded the core network to underserved regions of the state. Despite ample challenges with timelines, sourcing, and materials management, Network Connex was the key partner that helped execute and make rural broadband dreams a reality.


Fiber to the home (FTTH) connection


Cable MSO Hub

A highly developed understanding of the data center and hub environment and years of experience drive the Network Connex Raleigh team to deliver high quality assessment, communication, and installation inside cable hubs for one of the largest broadband MSOs in the United States.


Cable and broadband MSOs have faced challenges as traditional cable TV viewership declines and more consumers demand fast, high quality, broadband connections to facilitate working from home and streaming entertainment options. Providers need to transition old networks to new technologies while they continue to scale and deliver reliable service availability and quality.

Our national broadband MSO customer is moving away from RF cabling and adding the next generation of equipment to existing hub infrastructure to meet their capacity objectives in the North Carolina market. Existing devices must be relocated to different existing racks to leave floor space to install new upgraded racks and equipment.

Before becoming part of Network Connex, this technician team had built an impressive 11-year relationship with the national cable MSO and their local ISP project managers. The longstanding connection was instrumental in establishing the Network Connex partnership because the customer team already trusted the technicians to deliver the highest caliber work.


Already active hubs offer very limited space for adding new cabling or moving existing equipment so the installation team must be able to conceive innovative solutions to meet project objectives.

Work is occurring in active hubs, so service outages must be avoided.

High quality work that meets the customer’s hub playbook is required to eliminate overspend and leave hubs ready for future functionality.

Work must meet very tight and interrelated customer timelines.

A consistent flow of detailed communication is mandatory to enable the customer to meet their project timelines and dependent goals.

“In this line of work, there are always unforeseen issues that will arise as cabling pre-stage work begins. At times, these issues can cause severe delays or even completely halt a project. Fortunately, the Network Connex team is highly experienced in this area and always can provide multiple resolutions as viable options that all adhere to our Playbook regulations.”

ISP Manager

Leading National Broadband MSO


To meet the customer’s objectives for a hub expansion or upgrade, the Network Connex team completes audits of the space to assess what items must be moved to accommodate new equipment as well as anything needing repair. Sometimes this work means hand-tracing hundreds of cables to understand the current configuration and determine how the additional wiring can be accommodated.

After audit work is finished and a path forward is determined with the customer, the team handles everything from mounting the racks, mounting the FTP fiber cabinets on the wall, and installing the preterm chassis in the fiber racks. They install ladder rack, fiber raceways, ethernet baskets, and customer equipment within the racks. And of course, they complete precise, detailed wiring and fiber installation to bring all devices together into a functional hub. Upon entering a hub, partners and competitors immediately know that the Network Connex team has been on the job, recognizing the high quality, aesthetic output.

As work progresses, technicians leverage highly developed problem-solving skills to suggest innovative solutions that fit the project scope and maintain the planned schedule. The Network Connex team ensures that their work doesn’t interfere with current hub activity or impact uptime for consumers. They consistently deliver detailed progress reports to the customer team to help ensure project readiness and meet interdependent project completion dates.

During a hub audit, it is common for the Network Connex team to build an Excel spreadsheet to log detailed information for each individual cable/fiber. Using the industry standard of Row, Rack, Elevation, Slot, and Port, they indicate the origination and destination of each cable/fiber. The team then uses this information to print the labels that are placed on each cable/fiber end to identify what they are and where they are going.




As the broadband MSO maintains and expands services in the North Carolina market, the Network Connex team continues to provide turnkey ISP services for multiple hubs, including space audits, cabling, and equipment installation necessary for current and future functionality.


Network Connex’s national ISP team offers the benefits of turnkey partnership from a large, nationwide provider with exceptional quality, personal relationships, attention to detail, and detailed communication that are often the hallmarks of a small, local firm. A highly developed understanding of the data center and hub environment and years of experience drive the team’s dedication to their craft and places their skillset above all other providers. They continue to deliver high quality assessment, communication, and installation inside cable hubs, and look forward to supporting our broadband MSO customer in North Carolina for many years to come.



Network Connex steps in to meet strict engineering and state regulatory requirements of a hospital network’s iDAS installation.


To support escalating digital communications demands, the network infrastructure of today’s institutions must be modernized to be faster, more reliable, and scalable. This poses several challenges for older institutions, such as hospitals, which were not built with technology enablement in mind, nor with the structural engineering needed to meet the strict requirements to safely and securely enable wireless communications.

Network Connex was awarded a contract to assist its customer, a national wireless service provider, with a complex iDAS installation for an older seven-site hospital system in California. An iDAS provides reliable wireless coverage and adds capacity in difficult to-cover areas like tall office buildings, parking garages, stadiums, airports, shopping malls, and hospitals. A complex installation by itself, this project was even more challenging due to the strict requirements of the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI).

HCAI requirements protect critical care facilities by ensuring structural and communications services meet the architectural and engineering guidelines required to protect structures from seismic disruptions. Wireless communications systems meet these strict requirements as they are proven to minimize the loss of communications due to fire, floods, and other disasters.

Further complicating the project was the lengthy timeline HCAI requires to thoroughly review and approve the engineering plans. With multiple passes between stakeholders, the HCAI review can add six months or longer to the project timeline.

The engineering firm originally commissioned to upgrade the communications systems at the seven hospital sites realized the value of installing an iDAS to improve cellular and mobile services throughout the networked system. Unfortunately, the engineering firm was not familiar with the HCAI requirements and designed the new iDAS system using the hospital’s existing technology infrastructure. As a simple upgrade of the original design, the new system would not meet current HCAI guidelines and be approved for installation.


The engineering firm now found itself facing four hurdles:

The California HCAI department process required two prepared drawings of the project to be submitted.

During the review process itself, HCAI required two physical site visits to be completed in a short timeline – a seemingly insurmountable challenge since each site visit required a walk through and evaluation of over one-million square feet.

In order to submit the designs, the network engineering team would have to complete a thorough audit of the environment, along with additional drawings of all floor plans, dimensions, fixtures, electrical needs, and more to understand the structural integrity of the buildings and the potential impact of these changes on its entire foundational infrastructure.

Given the HCAI’s crucial responsibility to ensure the structural integrity of critical care facilities will withstand certain seismic activities, the engineering firm concluded that the project parameters were much more extensive than originally thought.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the engineering team at Network Connex. Their understanding of state and local legislative requirements and ability to work within a challenging landscape helped accelerate our efforts. We look forward to engaging the talents of their full team on future projects.”

Chief Operations Officer

National Wireless Service Provider


Network Connex, with its nationwide reach and expertise in managing complex
engineering projects through the specific guidelines and process required by the HCAI, was able to step in and complete the project in a timely manner.


With PE-Certified engineers in all 50 states, Network Connex enlisted its expert team of California PE-Certified engineers to conduct a thorough review of the project. Having already completed many successful projects to meet the California HCAI requirements, the Network Connex team was confident they could get the project back on track and completed on time.

Together with the original engineering firm, the Network Connex team successfully updated and submitted the necessary drawings and specifications outlined by the HCAI process and fast-tracked the approval needed for the iDAS installation. As a result of the successful work of Network Connex’s team of engineers, the engineering firm continues to bring them new projects, leveraging the valuable collaboration and wireless expertise that Network Connex delivers.



Fast-track the In-building Distributed Antenna System (iDAS) engineering design for a seven-site California hospital communications network while meeting the rigid requirements of the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI).


  • The initial engineering firm selected for this project was not familiar with the HCAI requirements and designed the new iDAS system leveraging the hospital’s existing technology infrastructure, which was not going to pass the critical HCAI review process.
  • Network Connex completed a thorough audit of the environment–along with drawings of all floor plans, dimensions, fixtures, and electrical needs–to understand the structural integrity of the seven buildings.
  • Network Connex efficiently provided the high-level review and detailed quality engineering drawings required by the customers and the HCAI to keep the installation project on schedule.
  • The customer continues to reach out to Network Connex for more projects and support.