What is dark fiber?


What is dark fiber?

  • Dark fiber is fiber-optic infrastructure that is not yet “lit” or put into use by a service provider.

  • A dark fiber lease requires the customer rather than the service provider to maintain and operate the equipment required to “light” the fiber and use it for Internet access and communications.

  • A dark fiber lease can provide cost savings and greater flexibility, but also comes with an increased responsibility for maintaining and monitoring another layer of technology.

In the world of Internet connectivity, dark fiber is gaining in popularity as fiber-optic infrastructure becomes more ubiquitous. But what is dark fiber exactly, and what advantages and disadvantages does it present to the enterprise?

Here’s a brief overview on “What is dark fiber?”

What is dark fiber?

Dark fiber is simply fiber-optic cable and fiber-optic infrastructure that isn’t being used. Fiber-optic cables employs very fine glass or plastic strands to transmit data via light. Cables that are actively being used are called “lit fiber,” while cables that are inactive are referred to as dark fiber.

What is dark fiber leasing?

When choosing to use a fiber-optic network, organizations may choose a lit fiber or dark fiber leasing model. Lit fiber services are delivered by a service provider that owns and maintains the equipment to light the fiber. Alternately, enterprises may lease dark fiber infrastructure and provide their own equipment to light the fiber.

What is dark fiber’s benefit over lit fiber?

Benefits of dark fiber leasing include:

  • Relatively fixed costs for bandwidth. Organizations can easily increase bandwidth by changing the equipment at the end of the fiber.

  • Unlimited scalability and future growth potential.

  • Increased security and ultimate control over the network.

  • Greater reliability, since the organization is the sole user of the dark fiber network.

What is dark fiber’s biggest drawback?

A dark fiber lease requires a higher upfront cost and capital investment for equipment to light the fiber, and managing and monitoring a fiber network can increase the administrative burden for IT teams.

What is dark fiber wavelength?

Dark fiber is able to simultaneously carry multiple wavelengths, providing much higher bandwidth, lower latency and greater security. When leasing dark fiber, businesses have all the wavelengths of fiber-optic infrastructure at their disposal.

What is dark fiber from Spectrum Enterprise

Spectrum Enterprise provides fiber Internet access for many of America’s largest businesses, delivering dedicated, high-performing connectivity with bandwidth that can scale from 25 Mbps to 10 Gbps.