Dark Fiber Circuits – Because of the capital expense of constructing fiber networks and the high barrier to entry, there are a limited number of operators that offer point to point dark fiber capacity by means of leasing an indefeasible right to use the capacity, or IRU contract.
The advantages of owning dark fiber routes, or leasing an IRU from dark fiber providers include:
- Network owners and construction partners realize the economic advantages that increase the return on investment (ROI) when the capacity is increased through the optical fiber by means of technologies such as wave division multiplexing, or WDM
- Long-term fixed costs enable the use of strategies such as reducing financial exposure by using contracts for future delivery at a fixed cost, effectively creating a hedge position, or the ability to speculate on the rise and fall of bandwidth pricing
- The ability to concentrate and manage IT components of the network and assets within data centers, which reduces the number of components in the network and can lower equipment and asset management costs
- Increased interconnection options i to other service providers, thereby lowering costs and increasing network footprints
- The ability to reach new customers and generate new service revenues through resale of the network at higher margins
Ring configurations are the most commonly deployed metro and long haul fiber architecture.
Dark Fiber Configurations
Dark fiber ring configurations offer more network resilience and uptime while minimizing the amount of capacity used. Fiber routed in separate paths protects services from service interruptions and offer increased diversity. Other fiber topologies include point-to-point and mesh architectures. Point-to-point fiber, sometimes called loops or spurs are commonly constructed for last mile connections to customers when diversely routed fiber routes are unavailable or too expensive to construct. In these situations added redundancy can be provided by means of coaxial cable, copper twisted pair or radio microwave connections.
Dark fiber is capable of supporting higher throughput data rates. Dispersion and attenuation of light over long distances does affect the throughput, but for distances under 30 miles, using currently available technology fiber networks can support hundreds of 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps simultaneously. If properly designed, fiber networks offer the most feasible long term investment for data transmission.
When distances of more than 30 miles are required, optical amplification regenerates the signal in order to maintain the bit error rate at acceptably low levels. For international and large regional networks amplification is a requirement, but is not needed for most of the dark fiber rings deployed between data centers, carrier hotels and meet me rooms in which dark fiber providers house the equipment that make up local and metro “bypass” networks where the customers and revenue generating opportunities exist.
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