What is Dark Fibre?

Here we’ll discuss just what is Dark Fibre?

A Dark Fibre network is essentially unused fibre optic cables with no service or traffic running on it – an unlit Point-to-Point connection. So how does Dark Fibre work? The actual fibre is leased or bought from a network owner or telecoms provider. Unlike Ethernet or lit-fibre services, if you purchase the dark fibre, you will also need to deploy and manage the equipment needed to light it.

One of the big advantages of Dark Fibre is it enables businesses to gain control of their IT estate and importantly, allows them manage capacity and to scale as needed as a fibre is limitless. Dark Fibre also enables the potential for Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or DWDM, which effectively splits the fibre in to individual wavelengths across the spectrum enabling greater capacity to be achieved, which can be good for businesses with large data requirements like media, manufacturing and banks.

Dark Fibre offers a better level resilience and security as businesses will not share the connection with anyone else – good for those that deal with sensitive information and those who require real-time information such as financial services, retail or healthcare. For those wanting to take advantage of Cloud and VoIP capabilities, having a reliable network makes all the difference.

The near limitless capacity that Dark Fibre offers means that businesses can future-proof themselves against the need for greater bandwidth. Businesses need only maintain and upgrade the equipment they are using as and when needed.

A negative factor, however, is the cost. Although there is some pre-existing fibre already laid where network providers have over compensated when laying fibre for growing demand, most of the cost of Dark Fibre is made up from the civil engineering work required to lay the fibre – especially where requesting a bespoke route. Even then, without the civils, a business needs to purchase and manage the equipment at both ends of the fibre too – there is no managed service. The cost could, however, be justified in that fact that the capacity is near limitless and so do not need to pay to scale up each time. So, for example, those with seasonal needs will have access to the capacity they need – both higher and lower – and can control it themselves –  no need to rely on a Service Provider and the associated costs and timescales.

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