Dark Fiber is unlit fiber optic cables that have been installed but are currently not in use by a fiber provider. These fiber connections are called “dark” because they do not carry any light signals. Being unlit, dark fiber is not actively transmitting data or providing any services, unlike lit fiber connections. Dark fiber services are leases of this unused network capacity from a fiber provider on a monthly or yearly basis. Customers of dark fiber services must provide and manage the optical equipment needed to light the fiber and make it usable for point-to-point data transmission.
The use of dark fiber networks is typically by larger organizations with large bandwidth requirements, such as the Fortune 500, government agencies, educational institutions, data centers, cloud application providers, ISP’s, and telecom carriers. Dark fiber solutions are designed to provide high bandwidth, low latency, secure, dedicated connectivity between sites. Application and network control are fully managed by the customer which allows for the rapid deployment of network capacity when needed. DWDM is the technology that enables this high bandwidth capacity as well as the availability of multiple connections over a single strand of fiber. Network control, scalability, as well as virtually unlimited bandwidth are the major benefits of dark fiber connections.
The availability of dark fiber networks is based on unused fiber capacity, which in many areas is in short supply. Most dark fiber providers limit the number of leases available and prefer to offer lit fiber services since that provides the highest ROI for network buildouts. Dark fiber availability is typically found in metro areas, between data centers, and along major fiber routes. Dark fiber pricing is based on a few factors including availability of excess capacity, location, overall fiber distance, and the lease term. Purchasing optical equipment as well as in-house IT resources needed to deploy and manage dark fiber services are additional cost factors. Dark Fiber solutions are also known as a Unlit Fiber or Unused Fiber.
Features & Benefits of Dark Fiber Services
- Virtually Unlimited Bandwidth
- Full Network Transparency & Control
- High Reliability & Low Latency
- Secure Data Connectivity
- Fixed Cost for Usage
Dark Fiber Applications
- Large Bandwidth Networks
- Private Data Connections
- Low Latency Applications
- ISP & Telecom Infrastructure
- Connecting Data Centers