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Fiber Optics

What Is Dark Fiber?


Mustafa Ali


November 13, 2017

What is Dark Fiber?

Dark Fiber, also known as Unlit Fiber or Black fiber, is a common term in Telecom and Network Communications. Dark fiber is an unused optical fiber that has been laid but is not currently active. Dark Fiber should not be dark, and should rather be taken advantage of.  Utilize our customized dark fiber map solutions to help businesses just like yours. Field Engineer can get you connected. Discover which engineers can help you today!

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.

Stealth Fiber Crew installing fiber cable underneath the streets of Manhattan. Image credit: Wikipedia

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.

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.

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.

Are you a freelancer looking for an opportunity to work as a Fiber Optic Freelance Technician? Sign up at Field Engineer today! It is a platform that freely connects freelancers with businesses to complete jobs. At Field Engineer, we have a multitude of high-end technicians on board, resulting in an ease of finding a skilled and talented technician to address the needs of a business.

Didn’t see what you were looking for? Check out the advantages of expanding your business globally or see the complete skills directory to find more engineers.


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