Before discussing the advantages of dark fiber, here is a brief description of it. It is a communications system that utilizes optical fibers. The term was first used to describe the networking capacity of a telecommunications infrastructure. Today, it also referred to the leasing of fiber optic lines from a service provider.
Many large corporations are hesitant to use the system because they think it will be too expensive. Much of this is because they don’t know how advantageous it is or that the price today is much cheaper. Therefore, a good understanding of the system is necessary before taking advantage of this innovative network and how it can benefit your company.
In 1997, a significant communications event took place. Underground optical cables were laid between Tokyo, Japan and London, England. At the same time, huge bundles of unused lines were installed for future use. There was an outcry from the public as the project involved extensive digging operations which caused inconvenience and obstructions.
Municipalities, electrical companies, and telephone companies seized the chance to use these lines to avoid the inconvenience caused by future digging. In the past, it was only telecommunication companies that were permitted to utilize this technology. Therefore, they had complete control and monopolized the leasing of unused lines to commercial enterprises.
Today, major corporate companies and other businesses are not only leasing lines, but they are developing their own dark fiber networking systems. This not only benefits their operations but it also increases their bandwidth. More importantly, they become self-sufficient and don’t have to rely on telecommunications companies to provide the cables.
As mentioned already, the main concern of companies regarding setting up their own networks was price. The good news is that the cost has dropped significantly because of an oversupply of the optical fibers. This has made the option much more affordable. Another factor influencing the cheaper price is that mid-sized companies are now using this technology and able to offer a cut rates to set up systems.
Proponents of wireless networking systems are quick to point out that optic lines are prone to disruption. Optic experts counteract this by saying that wireless networks that don’t work off RF signals are even more susceptible to disruption. In an out-of-sight wireless network, transmission is easily blocked by an object or person in the way.
Optical lines are resistant to tapping, jamming and radio frequency interference. They are not affected by sources of electromagnetic pulse caused by wireless networks. Line tapping is made difficult because fiber does not leak like copper. Once a fiber-optic line is jacketed and coated, the light is encased in the cable.
Computer systems benefit greatly from dark fiber networks. Companies have now started to recognize the advantages of optics as a more secure and flexible alternative to copper wiring. Apart from getting more bandwidth, resistance to interference, trapping, and jamming, there is another big plus. There is no longer a need to go through the hassle of installing networking devices called repeaters. To prevent vandals or terrorists cutting the wires, the cables are buried deep beneath the ground. To gain access to them would require massive machinery and manpower.