Is dark fiber in backbone networks good or bad?

closed as not a real question by Dennis Williamson, Warner, sysadmin1138, Zoredache, Mark Henderson Jul 30 '10 at 21:17

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    This should get a price for being one of the most vague questions ever. Good or bad in what scenario? In wich role/feet? – pauska Jul 30 '10 at 17:18
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    Is that the exact question your professor asked your class? – jscott Jul 30 '10 at 17:18
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    It could be bad. Suppose one was afraid of the dark... – Evan Anderson Jul 30 '10 at 17:19
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    It's nice to receive some thanks for it though. – Tom O'Connor Jul 30 '10 at 18:24
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    @BillN, unused copper is called 'dry'. Telecoms used to use wet-cell batteries to power their lines 100 years ago. Wire that is hooked up to something is 'wet' (connected to the wet-cell batteries). – Chris S Aug 1 '10 at 19:52

Dark fiber is just fiber that is not active. It is usually dark because it is planned surplus for future growth, this is normal.


Dark fiber is bad if it's 1998 and you've invested your retirement savings in large telecoms, or if it's 2002 and you're a large telecom.

Dark fiber is good if you're an equipment vendor or if it's 2003 and you're looking to exploit the overly-optimistic decision making of the previous decade.


dark fiber is good, unless it was supposed to be lit up.

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    "Our core switch has failed, and in doing so unilaterially made the decision that our campus fiber network will be comprised entirely of dark fiber." – Evan Anderson Jul 30 '10 at 17:54

Dark fibre is fantastic if you're looking for a PtP solution. Another application would be to get access to an ISP otherwise not available but utilizing the fiber between facilities.

Ultimately, it's one of the most versatile high bandwidth and low latency telecommunications solutions.


Dark Fiber is good if the price of running new fiber is very high, you only do it every 4-7 years, and you still want room to grow your network.

Dark Fiber is bad if the price of running new fiber is low and space in your cable-trays/conduit is at a premium.

  • But the cost of running the fiber itself isn't the only factor. The other component here is what will the cost of the electonics be to increase the bandwidth of your existing fiber connections. If I waste a lot of money running fiber assuming I only get 10mb/s per strand and then the cost of gigabit gear because cheaper sooner then I use up all my strands then I will have wasted money over-buying fiber. – Zoredache Jul 30 '10 at 21:16

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