Fibre Optic Network Design & Implementation for a major utilities company

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  • Large private utilities company

Our client is one of the largest private utility companies in the UK. Peak Technology Solutions was enlisted to provide a full fibre optic network design and implementation upgrade which required moving from a copper based (DH+) network to a fibre-based Ethernet ring network.


Our client, a nationally known utilities company, serves 15 million customers across the South of England. They approached Peak Technology Solutions to resolve a complex issue causing intermittent network problems on a large sewage treatment works.

The site PLC (programmable logic controllers) communicated via a legacy DH+ (data highway plus) network protocol. The site SCADA also operated on this old system. The stress on the existing network (loading) meant that operators continually saw dropped data packets on the important SCADA system, resulting in spurious alarms


A full network upgrade was required moving from a copper based (DH+) network to a fibre-based Ethernet ring network. This had to be achieved whilst keeping the existing system network operational.

The existing DH+ network was operating at 97% capacity. As such, and given the site growth, Peak suggested a robust solution that used new equipment and technologies. This would both resolve the immediate issues by securing the site network but would also futureproof for further expansion

The existing site DH+ network operated at 57.6kb. The new fibre optic ring was developed to operate at 1gb/s (2232% quicker) and allow for network redundancy – should the fibre optic ring break, data can transfer on the reverse loop.

Network boxes adjacent to each of the site PLC’s would be installed with managed ethernet switch nodes in each. The intention was that as site PLC’s are upgraded (and can utilise ethernet/fibre communications protocol), they can be tagged into the adjacent switches.

A deep understanding of the sites and the production process means Peak can support our client to define project standards and then manage roll out including consultancy, FEED (Front End Engineering Design), development and implementation.


Peak installed seventeen “network node boxes” housing managed fibre/ethernet switch for future adjacent PLC connection. Sub-fed from the network node boxes were 3 DLR’s (Device Level Rings), each providing a secondary network layer to process areas with multiple PLC’s.

In addition, a fully integrated fibre optic network with multiple appropriate network node points was created. An estimated 4.5 kilometres of fibre optic cable was installed as part of the project.

The addition of local fibre optic connection points for all site PLC’s has allowed other separate projects to go ahead, further enhancing the network infrastructure on site. These projects were on hold awaiting an improved network topology.

Site SCADA speed has improved and become more robust. It will continue to do so as more site PLC’s are upgraded from DH+ communications to fibre optic communications protocol. The client has requested that the designed “network node boxes” as delivered on-site through this project are put forward to become the Thames Water standard.

Security considerations and standards have been achieved by using industrial-managed network equipment, configured as per client protocols.

“Peak demonstrated their ability on the fibre upgrade project to comprehensively design, and offer consultancy, to deliver a project intending to future proof the site. The front-end study was beneficial and allowed for smooth programme delivery. “The project was delivered as to provision local fibre optic network connection points for all the site PLC’s, enabling the upgrade opportunities of these process control units. Peak performed the principal contractor role during the commissioning phase and oversaw electrical, mechanical and fibre optic installations on site before completing the managed switch configurations/testing throughout. During this time, they received a 100% UVDB score which was a testament to the safety considerations for their principal project role”

Major Utilities Client

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