Nov 13, 2017
“Dark Fiber” or sometimes spelled as “Unlit Fiber” is defined as being an unused optical Fiber cable or networks, which are usually used in Fiber-optic communication. This cable, or group of cables, may be set in place, but they are usually not being used at the current time.
In modern times, the term “dark Fiber” is now used to discuss the ever-growing, standard 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 original owner of the cable.
When Fiber optic cables are installed, many companies will actually overestimate the total amount of supplies and cables needed in order to perform the job. The reason for this is so that the company has the ability to somewhat prevent their dark Fiber network from procuring a huge overgrowth of data. Because of this, and due to advances in data-packaging, optical Fiber networks have extraneous space that is being unused. As a direct result, a dark Fiber network then has the opportunity to take advantage of this extra space.
Stealth Fiber Crew installing fiber cable underneath the streets of Manhattan. Image credit: Wikipedia
There are several ways to set up a 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, and through the same optical Fiber. Even as data signals are transmitted at the same time, they are all transmitted at unique and separate wavelengths, in order to keep the data signals separate. Using a dense wavelength is a good way to increase bandwidth amounts, and to allow more data to be sent via Fiber optics. Then, single optical cable can then be turned into multiple virtual Fibers. A person can expect great things with this, such as high-quality levels of internet performance, a super secure network, and lightning-fast web-surfing speeds.
Dark Fiber can be bought and used by anyone able to afford to do so. In reality, however, businesses and other organizations are more apt to get the most out of dark Fiber, since they are usually in situations where they need to get the absolute most out of their internet. Having dark Fiber also ensures that they will have almost complete control over their network infrastructure. Places such as government institutions, schools, e-commerce, and retail companies are some of the many who benefit from dark Fiber. These particular businesses and organizations require fast and secure internet capabilities because of the sensitive data they may be transmitting, and, they would also need the capability to send out large files of data at one time.
Sometimes, it just makes more sense and tends to be more economical for a company or business to just establish and operate their very own Fiber-optic network. Whether it’s for network speed, or personal control over the network, certain organizations benefit much more from a dark Fiber situation.
If a company is finding that it seems to be growing at an alarming rate, it may be realized that the company doesn’t have the right bandwidth amount to run their business efficiently and effectively. Having an already-established internet provider on board would take a while and would probably end up costing more in the long-run as well. Once a company or business has invested in dark Fiber, a simple upgrade to the Fiber-powering equipment will then begin to boost network capacity and speed.
Although it takes a bit of money and elbow-grease in order to get a Fiber network going, the worry of annoying, extra hidden fees or delays in service (a characteristic of many internet providers or local exchange carriers) will be gone. Running this type of network independently requires purchasing, installing, and running your own transmission equipment, which will mean having virtually total control over a network’s latency.
Having 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 the data being transmitted.
Indeed, there are many advantages to running your own network. The disadvantages must also be discussed, since it does take time and money to set up your own infrastructure.
Availability can be an issue to address, because even though the United States has large networks of unused Fiber out there just waiting to be used, not every town and city has dark Fiber capabilities. Before investing time or money, it is probably a good idea to contact a local dark Fiber provider or telecommunication company to find out if there is anything available out there.
Regular maintenance and repairing when something goes wrong, or when something becomes broken, can be an inconvenience. Remember, that not all technicians will have a sure-fire grasp on how to remedy every situation they may encounter. If significant or major repairs become necessary, prices can become downright exorbitant. It is vital for the owner of the network to constantly monitor the condition of the network, and should any problems come up, they can be dealt with a timely manner.
The outlook of 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 connectivity as possible. Providers of telecommunication services are also turning a keen eye 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.