More and more Australian organisations are embracing dark fibre as they seek to improve their operations and drive innovation within their business.
While the term may conjure notions of something mysterious in the world of networking and connectivity, dark fibre is actually a relatively simple concept.
Dark fibre, also known as unlit fibre, refers to unused optical fibre that exist in the ground that is available for rent or to buy from network service providers. Generally speaking, dark fibre is used in fibre-optic communication for private networking, internet access, or internet infrastructure networking.
Here are the top six most important things you need to know before deciding whether dark fibre is the best option for you and your business.
1. Unlit infrastructure
Building modern fibre networks is capital and labour intensive. Just look at the NBN.
It makes economic sense, then, that once a network service providers finish the mapping and digging, they should roll out as much cable as is practically possible so they can optimise their investment.
A portion of that network is ‘lit’, or activated, by the provider, for the provision of managed network services.
The portion that isn’t lit is known as ‘dark’ fibre. That's the bit that organisations can take advantage of by leasing their own direct connections.
2. Private highway
Naturally, active networks have many different customers using the same network. So, a dark fibre network gives businesses access to their own private highway.
Imagine driving to work and being the only car on the commute, door to door! That’s what using a dark fibre network is like. It's just your organisation on the one fibre pair, independent of the network provider’s active network, with only two endpoints.
(Read more about the benefits of using a dark fibre network)
There are numerous advantages to having a private network that only your organisation can access, including privacy, security, and improved performance.
3. Unlimited scope
Having dark fibre also means you have vastly more ‘headroom’ to build the network you need. It allows companies to scale up and down without needing to worry about specific constraints of one plan or another.
And because you’re driving on your own personal highway, you also don’t need to worry about performance degradation resulting from new customers joining the network nor about any risk of increased traffic from outside of your operations. The network becomes your own bubble that has vast scope for growth and unmatched capacity.
4. Abundant availability
The economies of network building means that dark fibre is in abundance in many metropolitan areas across Australia, the Asia Pacific, and around the world. In most major cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney, dark fibre is pervasive. However, if you’re primarily operating outside of large cities, such as in regional or rural areas of Australia, then the NBN is probably your best bet.
Yet, for those businesses headquartered in a big city, operating on your own dark fibre network makes it a great option. It's also becoming increasingly necessary for organisations looking to build fast, reliable, and secure networks with the flexibility to scale up and down in line with business requirements. With dark fibre, you don't have the prohibitive costs and lengthy negotiations associated with other options, giving unrivalled agility for growth and expansion.
5. More cost effective
Dark fibre can be more cost-effective too, especially if, like most modern businesses, you are planning for a future-proof network. Optimising for the future can incur a lot of unpredictable costs if you’re trying to extend out your network under typical network services arrangements.
Fibre, as a communication link, does not have any limit on the amount of data it can carry. So, if you want to dimension your network in this increasingly bandwidth hungry world, dark fibre is the perfect solution. Just spec the right hardware and you’re set. It allows you to provision more links quickly, easily and for relatively less expense, without the fear of exceeding capacity ceilings and the confronting penalties that are often associated if you had to buy them from someone else.
6. A blank canvas
Because dark fibre isn’t part of a carrier’s active ‘in-service’ network, it tends to be devoid of the sorts of equipment typically in operation, such as the switches, routers, networking firmware and so on.
For organisations that have a more advanced in-house IT expertise and resources, dark fibre networks are a blank canvas upon which they can design and build a network that exactly matches their specifications and needs.
It's like moving into a brand-new house, where there’s no appliances and no furniture and you can customise it the way you want it without the hassle of working with what was there before.
Superloop is one of the most progressive network operators in the Asia Pacific, offering access to an extensive and powerful dark fibre networks. Talk to us today about how we can help you build the best network for you.