In this case, a fiber building isn’t one that’s made out of carbon fiber construction or anything exotic like that. Fiber doesn’t refer to the construction materials of the structure itself. It refers to the type of telecom services already installed. A fiber building is one that already has fiber optic service brought in and operating. That’s why you often hear them referred to as fiber lit buildings. Lit means that there is laser light shining down those fiber strands and carrying digital payloads.
So, how do you find a fiber building? Peeking in windows after dark won’t work and will probably get you in trouble. You could start calling all the office and industrial buildings in the area and mark the lit building locations on a map. Or you can take the easy approach and use an automated online tool that will do all that legwork for you. It’s called the “Lit Building Locator.” You simply enter the street address of the building you are in now and you’ll get a map of lit buildings in the area and how far they are from you.
The most popular fiber optic bandwidth service being requested now is Metro or Carrier Ethernet. The beauty of Ethernet is that it is the same protocol that you are already running on your corporate LAN. That makes interfacing very easy. Fiber optic Ethernet services include Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps, Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) at 1,000 Mbps and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) at 10,000 Mbps. In some cases 40 Gigabit Ethernet is also available for the most demanding applications.
You should be aware that there is another type of fiber optic service that is also installed in “lit” buildings. This is the traditional telecom service called SONET for Synchronous Optical NETwork. Bandwidth services include OC-3 at 155 Mbps, OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-24 at 1.2 Gbps and OC-48 at 2.4 Mbps. Higher speeds include OC-192 at 9.95 Mbps that is compatible with 10 GigE WAN-PHY and OC-768 running at 40 Gbps.
Which fiber service should you choose? There may or may not be a choice. Once a fiber service is brought into a building, competing services generally choose other buildings to light up. Any particular building may be lit for SONET or Ethernet. There is a service called Ethernet over SONET, including 10 GigE WAN-PHY, that can give you the protocol you want even if your building is set up to legacy telco standards. Another reason that customers are asking for Ethernet is that it tends to be less expensive per Mbps than SONET services, where available.
Are you looking for more bandwidth? Why not check for fiber buildings and see if yours or one nearby is lit? If close, you may be able to get a carrier to make the necessary installation with no or discounted construction costs if you will be ordering a high bandwidth level. Perhaps you can find other tenants and pool your request to make the installation even more attractive.
Note: Photo courtesy of Diego Silvestre on Wikimedia Commons.