Increasing demand for seamless connectivity with low-latency to cloud computing and bandwidth-intensive applications are shining a light on the benefits of Dark Fiber networks.
Dark Fiber, which ominously sounds like something you buy late at night in a dark Internet alley, has a more benign meaning.
In fact, Dark Fiber really has two meanings:
Also known as “Unlit Fiber” or “Black Fiber”, Dark Fiber originally derived its name for any fiber-optic cable strands that are laid and installed but currently not used. Since information and data is transmitted along fiber optic lines via pulsating infrared light, those fiber strands not in use were considered unlit or dark.
- Dark Fiber today can also mean lines that are leased from the original owner of the fiber-optic cable, typically telecom providers, and then lit or used by companies and organizations that want to establish their own connections outside of public networks.
While there are still thousands of miles of unlit Dark Fiber cables across the United States, more routes are lighting up each day as educational institutions, government organizations, data centers, e-commerce and retail operations as well as others see the benefits which include reduced costs, lower latency, higher speeds, increased autonomy, redundancy, scalability and security,
Who is Benefiting from Dark Fiber in 2020?
Previously your choices may have been limited to building your own fiber network from scratch or purchasing commercial Internet services along existing lines, but now a third option of leasing Dark Fiber is becoming increasingly popular. Perhaps the best way to see the benefits of Dark Fiber is to look at how it is being utilized in 2020:
- On Nov. 10, 2020 Ivy League Dartmouth announced it had chosen a dark fiber provider to connect six of its buildings located on its 237-acre campus in Hanover, NH. Said Felix Windt, Dartmouth Senior Director of Network Services, “Low-latency connectivity for an institution like Dartmouth is an absolute necessity to support our mission and provide students with accessibility to global research and the latest advancements in their fields, particularly in the era of remote learning.”
- On Oct, 22, 2020 La Vergne, Tenn. announced a 20-year contract with a company to connect La Vergne government buildings through an internal network, the first phase of which will be an 11-mile dark fiber ring for city offices. La Vergne will own and maintain its fiber optic equipment attached to the dark fiber ring but the ISP provider will own the fiber.
- On Aug. 18, 2020 CoreSite’s Santa Clara Data Center campus announced it has chosen a dark fiber service provider for its eight operational data centers with over 775,000 square feet of collation space. The dark fiber access will help CoreSite provide its customers low-latency connections to over 205 cloud, network, and IT service providers in Silicon Valley.
While data centers, educational institutions and government organizations have been early adopters of dark fiber, other applications are catching on:
- A Fortune 100 retailer used a private 2600-mile long-haul dark fiber network that connected stores and data centers in four states including hubs in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.
- A global e-commerce company used dark fiber to connect corporate campuses in Los Angeles and Seattle to cloud on-ramps in Utah, Las Vegas, San Jose, and Portland which then linked to fiber-optic submarine cable laid under the Pacific Ocean to operations in Tokyo and Singapore.
The Benefits of Dark Fiber
While the benefits of dark fiber are many, the biggest plus may be the low latency, as network performance is improved by straight line connections from point A to point B versus bouncing around a commercial Internet network.
With 5G technology rolling out, low latency may be more important than pure Internet speed. In the event of disasters or outages, the combination of dark fiber and public networks can add redundancy, keeping things up and running. Dark Fiber also allows for the transmission of large files of sensitive data securely along private lines.
PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.
Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.