This month we kick off a new blog series titled ‘Buzz Word Alert’. We’ll be defining the words you may have heard over the last few months on the news, in an industry blog, over beers at the networking event… but maybe you weren’t quite sure what it meant. And while that Google search may have given you the quick definition, it probably wasn’t quite enough. We’ll be diving deep into each term, and sharing the implications it has or will have on the telecom and technology expense industry.

Today’s Buzz Word is Dark Fiber.

What is Dark Fiber? Dark fiber is optical fiber that is not currently active. Another name for dark fiber is ‘unlit fiber’. Why? Because fiber-optic cable transmits information in the form of light pulses. So a ‘dark’ or ‘unlit’ fiber refers to one which light pulses are not actively being transmitted.

There are thousands of miles of fiber laid across the United States. Why? Because companies have installed these fiber optic systems for their own current or future purposes. Another reason why? They have identified the opportunity to resell access to their existing and unused infrastructure to other companies.

Often this dark or unlit fiber exists in urban and metropolitan areas. It exists where a company decided to install it, and in some cases they needed special zoning and permissions to do so. The fiber was active or used at one point, and then abandoned when a building was sold or the connectivity was no longer necessary. The fiber may have existed to connect buildings on a singular campus, or provide access to internal networks with special protocols remotely.

Why Dark Fiber? Dark fiber is the best solution to providing nearly uninterrupted access with little overhead costs. This speediness and thriftiness makes it perfect for mirroring data centers. Another situation perfect for this fiber? Campus environments, where connectivity to multiple buildings and data center is necessary. Dark fiber is an ideal solution in these situations because the fiber can be connected directly to the network router with no extra equipment. Overall dark fiber is cheaper, faster, and simpler.

Where does TEM fit in? Dark fiber can be purchased from the companies that installed it, or from companies that manage dark fiber. Those companies then look to TEM to bill their clients for usage of the dark fiber. How do they do it? With specialized managed services and software. Valicom’s Clearview allows for managing of fiber usage within Clearview. Bill your clients accurately and transparently for their usage of your existing fiber.

Connect with us to learn more about how you can use Clearview to accurately bill clients for usage of their existing fiber.

Want to learn more about Dark Fiber? Access these resources:

Comcast ‘The Dark Side of Dark Fiber’ White Paper

Techopedia: What Does Dark Fiber Mean? 

About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.