What is Dark Fiber?
Dark Fiber gives your company’s network a dedicated fiber optic connection; this connection offers virtually unlimited bandwidth as it is solely based upon the equipment you place on the ends. Dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM), an optical technique that involves splitting a single optical fiber into multiple wavelengths, further supports this limitless bandwidth capacity. Currently, DWDM systems have a capacity of 8 terabits and growing!
Frequently, Dark Fiber is sold on a per pair or single-strand basis dependent upon what your gear requires. Typically, the purchase of the network occurs via a long term IRU (Indefeasible Rights of Use) agreement. Traditionally, this lease agreement was for 10 or 20-year terms, however, in recent years companies have begun purchasing on much shorter lease terms.
Benefits of Dark Fiber:
Any Service, Any Protocol, Any Bandwidth: Dark Fiber is traffic agnostic to the protocols that you allow to traverse the network. It’s yours to use. You control your bandwidth from 1 Mbps to speeds over 100Gbps! However, do be mindful of some distance limitations that your protocol may have.
Reliability: A premiere and optimally designed and engineered Dark Fiber network will include redundant paths for diversity. For maximum diversity, multiple carrier networks may be utilized. Always ask for route maps to ensure carrier path diversity and if you see paths that don’t make sense…ask questions.
Scalability: The only limiting factor is the equipment you install—Dark Fiber is virtually unlimited in its capabilities. You can easily scale you network to your needs from 1Gbps to 100Gbps and beyond, simply by switching out your equipment.
Security: Because you place the equipment on each termination point of your Dark Fiber network, you have full control on how you implement your security. No public routers, switches or COs ensures your data remains in the private sector.
Flexibility: The only factor is determining the protocols that traverse the network and at what volume the equipment installed on each end can support. If you lease your own private fiber connection, you control everything.
Purchase Options and Fixed Cost: Dark Fiber leasing and purchase options provide flexibility for the financial planning aspects of your organization. And, because bandwidth is limitless there is no concern for hiking costs of additional bandwidth.
A Dark Fiber network provides a host of premier benefits to the end user. However, when deciding on a network solution it is important to keep in mind the management and support of that network. Unlike a lit solution, Dark Fiber requires in-house maintenance and upkeep of the network. To learn more about the differences between a lit and dark fiber solution, see our previous post.
Ultimately, when choosing a network solution, it is best to discuss your options with a service provider. Each organization will have different pain points and requirements that may or may not fit the scope of Dark Fiber connectivity. But certainly, if you are looking for limitless flexibility and unrivalled bandwidth, Dark Fiber can show you the light.