Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Dark Fiber Community Builds Infrastructure

You hear the stories that our infrastructure is crumbling. Not all infrastructure. There’s a big construction project underway now to ring the country with a thousand fiber strands, a high bandwidth nervous system for information technology. Lighting up this dark fiber promises almost unlimited low latency bandwidth for the foreseeable future.

Typical fiber optic cable installation underway.Why the need for this dark fiber infrastructure? It’s not so much that the old infrastructure is crumbling as it is chock full. You remember the great fiber buildout late last century? It seemed to be way overdone when the tech crash came. Indeed, it’s taken over a decade to light up all that excess fiber. There may still be some underutilized fiber rings looking to see the light, the laser light that is. But there is also an enormous additional need coming from business process automation, high frequency financial services, electronic medical records, and 4G wireless, to name a few demanding applications.

Rising to the challenge is Allied Fiber and its Dark Fiber Community. Allied fiber isn’t a carrier. They are an infrastructure builder. They are where the carriers go to get new unlit fiber routes. One of the most prestigious fiber optic carriers, AboveNet, has just joined the Dark Fiber Community to provide expertise in high performance fiber optic networking and be part of this enormous resource.

The Dark Fiber Community is an association of over 60 members that include equipment vendors, carriers, industry technical associations, financing companies and other interested parties. It’s hosted by as an online resource and educational platform to support Allied Fiber.

Allied Fiber, itself, is the company that is building out and leasing this enormous national dark fiber optic backbone. It will eventually be in the form of a ring linking New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Ashburn, VA and back to NYC. Draw a circle around the lower 48 states and you’ll have the general route for Allied Fiber.

But what if you don’t happen to be located in one of those major cities on the fiber route? Here’s the cleverness of the design. It’s not just a few long haul fiber routes. It’s two parallel routes. One is long haul between the major cities mentioned. The other, running side by side, is broken up into 60 mile segments. These short haul routes terminate in colocation huts where the laser signals are regenerated to boost them for the next segment. Inside the same hut are racks for multiplexing equipment to add and drop network services on the route. This long-haul/short haul arrangement allows Allied to provide low latency fiber between major city pairs while having the flexibility to also serve many other locations along the way and connect to other short haul routes off the major route.

One series of connections will be Fiber to the Tower or FTTT. You may not have heard of FTTT before, but you will hear plenty about it in the near future. The wireless industry is moving into 4G as fast as they can. Unfortunately, their old T1 based copper backhaul infrastructure is maxed out for bandwidth. That means new fiber connections to those cellular base stations in many cases. Allied’s FTTT plan is to provide access to the duct fiber every 1 to 2 miles in order to create lateral extensions from the main fiber route to where the towers are located.

Are you in need of higher bandwidth fiber optic services at highly competitive prices? If so, you may have more options than you think. Find out by getting prices and availability for dark and lit fiber optic bandwidth services now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

Note: Photo of workmen installing fiber optic cable courtesy of Paul Keleher on Wikimedia Commons.

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