If you're interested in running fiber to your business, community or home, you may have heard about an important alternative known as "dark fiber." Dark fiber makes it easier to achieve better connectivity without having to run your own fiber lines; instead, you can work with a service provider to use existing lines that are no longer in use. Here's everything you need to know about finding and using dark fiber.
What Exactly is "Dark Fiber"?
Dark fiber refers to optical, telecommunications fiber that has been installed but is no longer in use. Dark fiber can run through a number of cities and neighborhoods, the remnants of connections that were previously there. ISPs still own this dark fiber, but (for whatever reason) they've found that it doesn't generate revenue to maintain the connection.
There's nothing wrong with the fiber that's been run — it still works just fine — it just isn't being actively used and maintained. As fiber becomes more popular, more dark fiber becomes available throughout the world. This dark fiber can be leveraged by both businesses and individuals.
How Can You Find "Dark Fiber"?
As you can see, there are significant advantages to using dark fiber over running your own fiber line. After all, you wouldn't install your own plumbing if there was already a plumbing system available. Yet, there is one complication: it's hard to find dark fiber.
Since dark fiber could be owned by a number of different entities, it's hard to find a universal repository of information regarding where dark fiber now runs.
Luckily, there are tools and services that can help.
- Lightquest. Lightquest lets you check for service located around a physical address, whether that address is a commercial or a residential one. Dark fiber is most often recommended for business owners, as it's a way to acquire a fiber line within an urban area. Most residential locations will either be too rural to use dark fiber or will have a number of existing fiber options, but there are still situations in which a residential location might able to benefit from dark fiber. Occasionally, communities, HOAs, and apartment complexes may want to run their own fiber lines.
- Network Footprint. This tool displays the fiber-optic network footprint throughout the region, thereby making it easier to see the areas that are most likely to contain dark fiber. While some research may still need to be done to determine which locations are currently connected, the network footprint map can be an excellent place to start.
It's always possible to take advantage of dark fiber while also running additional fiber line, if the dark fiber line does not connect exactly where it needs to go. Dark fiber is simply a way of taking advantage of an existing telecommunications line when it does exist, and it can save a company tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars for running its own line.
Businesses will usually either purchase this line or lease it from another business, but either way, they won't need to invest in the digging and the installation on their own. Further, rather than having to manage the line itself, a business can instead outsource it to an existing service like PS LIGHTWAVE. When outsourced, businesses are able to get the best of both worlds: they get to purchase or lease a fiber line directly to their business, and they still get to have the support of an ISP.
Get Dark Fiber for Your Business
If you're interested in the advantages of dark fiber for your business, your first step should be to contact a company that specializes in dark fiber management and maintenance — such as PS LIGHTWAVE. Without a partner, you'll need to manage and maintain the fiber on your own. PS LIGHTWAVE can not only help you find fiber around your business, but can also help monitor and maintain it. PS LIGHTWAVE offers 7/24/365 management for dark fiber solutions and will be able to help you implement dark fiber for your business.
Want to learn more? Contact PS LIGHTWAVE today to get started.
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.