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What do we mean by dark fibre?

Dark fibre is not a new and different type of fibre. Dark fibre is just normal optical fibre that’s already installed, but is not yet lit or in use.

You can take advantage of dark fibre to establish your own network links, and gain control over your network bandwidth and traffic. When you use dark fibre, you will get access to a continuous optical circuit, which is usually a pair of fibres, that provides a direct connection between two specific end points. You are then responsible for lighting up that fibre with your own equipment at each end. This gives you full control of the link and of the traffic that you put over it.

Applications for CONA: Metro networks, DCI, FTTA, Utility networks, Fibre for 5G, Campus networks

So who uses dark fibre?

Well actually lots of organisations for many different applications.

Data center operators use dark fibre to connect different data centres directly with each other. It means they can manage and control the link just as if it’s just an extension of the data centre network.

optical networking for data center interconnect

Mobile network providers can use dark fibre to provide mobile backhaul, 5G backhaul and core network connections.

optical networking for FTTA

Most National Research and Educational Networks (NRENs) that link together different universities and research establishments, use dark fibre.

optical networking for NRENs

Could we use dark fibre?

If you need high capacity network links, for one of these applications or for a similar purpose, then yes you could potentially light dark fibre links up yourself, with the right knowledge and equipment, and access to a suitable fibre route of course.

Many network owners publish maps showing the routes where they have dark fibre available, so you can identify suitable routes. The final connections into your building at each end will most likely require new dedicated cables to be installed.

One implementation option involves using what the industry calls “white box” building blocks. All this means is that they are not part of a specific equipment vendor’s proprietary solutions. That means that, today, probably the most economical way to light up dark fibre is to do it yourself!

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Which course should I go on to learn about using dark fibre?

The Certified Optical Networking Associate (CONA) course will help you to build up the knowledge that you need to plan your dark fibre links. You’ll learn about the characteristics of the dark fibre infrastructure infrastructure and be able to specify the equipment you need to provide links with the capacity you need. Ask us for the full course programme for the course using the form below.

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The CONA course is currently delivered by OTT’s training delivery partners in the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA, South Africa, Nigeria, Australia & New Zealand. It may be possible to arrange courses onsite for company groups located in other regions. Some of their dates will be listed here. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with future dates for this course then why not follow us on your preferred social media.

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