Fiber Optics

Fiber Optics

What Is Dark Fiber?


Mustafa Ali


November 13, 2017

What is Dark Fiber?

‍Dark fiber - which is also known as unlit fiber or black fiber - is an unused optical fiber that has been laid. It is usually used in Telecom and Network Communications, and there are thousands of miles of unused dark fiber cables across the US. While it is currently unused, it's known to be "dark" as no light pulses are being transmitted through it. In normal fiber cables, light pulses send information, but it's essential that these cables are instead taken advantage of. With, you can utilize our dark fiber map solutions which are customized to help 

All About Dark Fiber

Today the term dark fiber is used to discuss the ever-growing, popular procedure of leasing out fiber optic cables from a network provider/service provider, or, out to the Fiber installation/fiber infrastructure that isn’t owned by regular carriers. Dark Fiber can still be called dark, even if it has been utilized by a fiber lessee and not by the owner of the cable.

When fiber optic cables are installed, many companies overestimate the total amount of supplies and cables needed in order to perform the job. The reason behind this overestimation is to ensure that the company can prevent their dark fiber network from gaining an overgrowth of data. Preventative measures and advances in data-packaging have allowed for a multitude of optical Fiber networks to have unused extraneous space. This extra space allows for the opportunity for dark fiber networks to become functional through expansion.

What Is Dark Fiber Used For & How?

There are several ways to set up a dark fiber network. Point-to-point or point-to-multipoint configurations are the most common ways to install and set up these networks. Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), has been a huge factor in the development and improvement of Dark Fiber. DWDM occurs when many different data signals are transmitted at the same time, through the same optical fiber. 

Data signals are transmitted at the same time, but in order to keep the data signals separate, they are all transmitted at unique and separate wavelengths. A dense wavelength is a good way to increase bandwidth and to allow additional data to be sent via fiber optics. Additionally, the single optical cable can then be turned into multiple virtual fibers. This kind of technology results in high-quality levels of internet performance, a powerful and secure network, and lightning-fast internet speeds.

Dark Fiber can be affordably bought and used by individuals. However, businesses and other organizations are more likely to get the most out of dark fiber bandwidth, since they have a higher demand for their internet. Black fiber also ensures that businesses will have almost complete control over their network infrastructure. Government institutions, schools, e-commerce, and retail companies are some of the many who can benefit from dark fiber. These particular organizations require fast and secure internet capabilities due to the transmission of large files of sensitive data.

Dark fiber networks have a high capacity and enable excellent signal strength. Data is transported through the cables using light pulses, as mentioned earlier, and you can find it underground. Dark fiber networks are separate from the main networks and are controlled by a client rather than a network provider. Some interesting uses of dark fiber include the current earthquake research happening in California. They're also used to monitor the Arctic permafrost in Alaska. It's not just used for business purposes and can be installed under oceans as well as land.

‍How Dark Fiber Is Used In Network Architecture

Dark fiber is set up in several different ways. Two main configurations are popular, and those are point-to-point and multipoint configurations. Instead of Network Service Providers adding a new strand of fiber-optic to a network that already exists, they will usually install more than is necessary so that they can use the dark fiber in the future. When extra cabling is installed, a Network Service Provider enables a business to work more efficiently.

Dark Fiber VS Wavelength

If you want to have multiple protocols on one fiber, you will use Wavelength Division Multiplexing. This uses multiple wavelengths and is distinctive to use. Choosing wavelengths means choosing an established technology, and they are available to use. You may not need the whole fiber, which is why wavelength is a good choice as you can create the wavelength yourself. There's also the chance that dark fiber may not be available for the whole route you need, so you can use wavelength services until you need dark fiber.

Dark Fiber VS DWDM

DWDM - or Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing - is usually used on a core network that holds enormous capacity and can reach distances of up to 80km. It's an ideal choice for businesses in media and e-commerce given they have larger data volume. A dark fiber service would need a company to deploy equipment at both ends and manage the capacity they use. With a DWDM, the network provider does this.

The Benefit of Dark Fiber

For businesses and companies, owning and operating their own fiber-optic network tends to be more economical. Organizations gain benefits such as network speed and autonomy over their network when Dark Fiber is utilized.

Often times businesses find their growth to be alarmingly quick, which can cause issues with their bandwidth being at capacity. This prevents businesses from running efficiently and effectively. Incorporating an already-established internet provider would take a while and end up costing more in the long-run. Once a company has dark fiber, a simple upgrade to the fiber-powering equipment will allow an instantaneous boost to network capacity and speed.

Starting up a dark fiber optic network takes a bit of money and elbow-grease. However, the annoyance of extra hidden fees and delays in service, all of which are common characteristics of internet providers will be gone. Running a dark fiber network independently requires purchasing, installing, and running your own transmission equipment, which allows for total control over a network’s latency.

A low latency level is important for organizations who rely on dependable and speedy communication between different point-to-point portals, or between large data centers that need to be in communication with each other quickly and efficiently. Security is also an important factor. These networks are owned and operated only by the lessee, which means maintaining a high level of security; no outsiders can monitor or record data being transmitted.

At, we can assist you with your dark fiber needs with our database of exceptional dark fiber specialists. Don't delay; if you need a fiber optic technician, we have over 40,000+ global specialists waiting to work on your project with you. Call us now and see how we can help.

Cons of Dark Fiber

While there are many advantages to running your own dark fiber optic network, there are also disadvantages that need to be acknowledged. The primary disadvantages are immediate, the loss of time and money that it takes to set up your own infrastructure.

Availability is an important issue because even though the United States has large networks of unused Fiber out there, not every town has dark fiber capabilities. Before investing time or money, contact a local dark Fiber provider or telecommunication company to find out if there is dark fiber available.

Regular maintenance and repairing when something goes wrong can be an inconvenience. Not all technicians will have a solid grasp on how to remedy every dark fiber situation they may encounter. If significant or major repairs become necessary, prices can become exorbitant. It is vital for the owner of the network to consistently monitor the condition of the network, so if any problems come up, they can be dealt with a timely manner.

The outlook for the future of dark Fiber is actually quite promising. More and more businesses, companies, and organizations are beginning to seek out the best and most reliable internet connection, which is what dark fiber provides. Providers of telecommunication services are also paying more attention to the world of dark fiber since they are constantly on the hunt for expandable bandwidth capabilities. All in all, dark Fiber seems to finally be garnering the attention it deserves. We can help you set up your dark fiber network today! Looking for a cost-effective and stress-free experience? We have fiber optic technicians to assist your business in your installation.

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