What Is Dark Fiber? How it Works Plus its Many Benefits
Fiber-optic cables provide internet connectivity by sending information through light pulses. Cables that have been installed underground but aren’t in use are called “dark fiber”—also known as black or unlit fiber. There are thousands of miles of unlit fiber-optic cables throughout the country that were installed by telecom providers but haven’t been utilized yet.
Organizations in private and public sectors can take advantage of this unused dark fiber to create a secure network system that’s isolated from public networks and provides consistent, reliable speed.
By purchasing or leasing dark fiber, you can create a stable internet environment that your company controls, ensuring you never have to worry about insufficient bandwidth or network capacity. Find out more about dark fiber vs. lit fiber and the advantages of working with dark fiber service providers.
Dark Fiber vs. Lit Fiber
When most people connect to the internet from home through their laptop or smartphone, they’re using lit fiber — linking to the existing fiber-optic infrastructure provided by a utility company. But when organizations want a secure and private option for network access, they can purchase or lease dark fiber-optic cables from a service provider.
The organization uses its own equipment to “light” the fiber, so they have complete control over their internet infrastructure.
Benefits of Using Dark Fiber
While dark fiber may seem confusing at first, it’s an elegant solution to many of the challenges that companies face. The advantages of using dark fiber include:
Privacy and Security
Companies can purchase or lease dark fiber, and they own the equipment connected to the fiber. This dedicated infrastructure gives the enterprise complete control over the network.
All the information they send over the network is private and can’t be monitored by outside entities. This is a big value-add for organizations that handle sensitive, private data, such as healthcare systems.
Working with dark fiber service providers is becoming a popular choice among school districts that want to ensure that student data remains protected while having access to a secure and powerful network.
In computer network systems, latency measures the amount of time it takes for data to travel from its origin point to its destination.
Dark fiber networks tend to have low latency, meaning data can be transmitted quickly across a large network. This is important for organizations with a high number of endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and IoT (internet of things) devices.
Capacity and Flexibility
Because enterprises that use dark fiber aren’t utilizing public fiber-optic cables, they enjoy high capacity and strong signal strength. This allows them to respond to internal demand without worrying about external network issues.
Fiber-optic cables are extremely powerful — their bandwidth is only limited by the transceiver equipment at either end of the fiber. As companies need more bandwidth, they can simply upgrade their equipment to enjoy higher speeds, without needing to replace any fiber.
While operating your own private fiber-optic network comes with start-up capital costs, the potential for long-term savings is significant.
As your organization grows, you can quickly surpass your bandwidth capacity if you’re on a lit-fiber network, and it can require lots of time and money to upgrade your existing systems. But once you’ve invested in dark fiber, it’s easy to add capacity. Plus, you don’t have to worry about service calls, hidden fees, or unpredictable costs from month to month.
Learn More About Network Solutions from VPLS
At VPLS, we offer dark fiber connectivity solutions supported by our carrier-neutral data centers throughout the United States and beyond. We work with more than 7,000 clients around the world to provide managed solutions for everything from cloud storage to colocation. We’ll tailor our services to meet your company’s unique needs, and our 24/7 support means we’re always just a call away. For more information, contact us today.
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