Q: What is a lit building?
A: This is a building that already has fiber installed and “lit” for service. Usually only a single carrier lights each building. If your building is lit, you can easily get bandwidth services from that carrier.
Q: What are wavelength services?
A: A wavelength or Lambda is a particular color of laser light that carries the signal through the optical fiber. Early fiber systems used only a single light beam. Today, multiple beams travel the same fiber strand using a process called WDM or Wavelength Division Multiplexing. You can lease an entire wavelength for your exclusive use if you wish.
Q: Why would you lease a wavelength rather than just buying bandwidth?
A: Leasing a wavelength gives you high bandwidth dedicated to your use. Typically each wavelength supports 10 Gbps. You can decide whether to use SONET, Ethernet or some other protocol over the wavelength because the service does not share traffic with other users.
Q: What is dark fiber?
A: This refers to fiber strands that have been installed but not lit for service. Most fiber optic cable has dozens or hundreds of fiber strands all bundled together. Carriers that have extra strands they aren’t using will often lease them to other carriers or businesses that need the capacity.
Q: What’s the advantage of dark fiber?
A: Bandwidth is nearly unlimited and security is high because there is no traffic on the fiber strand other that what you provide.
Q: What protocols does dark fiber support?
A: Anything you can generate, including SONET, Ethernet, Fibre Channel and others. By using Wavelength Division Multiplexing, you can assign a different protocol to each wavelength and they won’t interact.
Q: Why wouldn’t you select dark fiber?
A: You’ll need to provide the termination equipment at each end, which can be rather expensive. On wavelength and other bandwidth services the carrier does this. Also, there may not be any dark fiber available on the route you have in mind.
Q: How does fiber support cloud services?
A: Cloud communications are bandwidth intensive. All the traffic that used to run to your in-house data center now goes over a WAN (Wide Area Network) connection to the cloud. You need high bandwidth and low latency connections for this to work properly, just what fiber is good at.
Is fiber bandwidth service the right solution to your business needs? Compare costs and service options for the fiber optic service options available for your business locations.
You may also be interested in reading Fiber Optic Service FAQs, Part 1 and Part 2.