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Lit Fiber or Dark Fiber?

These are two ways of leasing fiber, but what are the differences……

The main difference between the two is who is responsible for “lighting” the fiber. In order for fiber to start passing traffic, equipment modules get installed at each end of the fiber in order to “light” it. The equipment determines the amount of bandwidth that can travel on that fiber.

Under a Lit fiber lease, the service provider, owns and maintains the equipment to light the fiber. The customer is free of the maintenance and operation of the equipment.

A Dark fiber lease requires the customer to provide and maintain the equipment to light up the fiber. Under this type of lease, the service provider is only responsible for maintaining the fiber.

Regardless of the option, both Lit and Dark WANs are Category 1 E-Rate eligible items.

Benefits of Lit fiber leased WANs

-Full turnkey service; no need to maintain or operate WAN equipment

-Less complex

-Speeds starting at 1 Gig, 10 Gig, or beyond per location

-Peace of mind associated with a fully managed service from the provider. The customer does not need to purchase, maintain or operate any additional equipment with WANRack.

-E-Rate Category 1 Eligible

Challenges of Lit fiber WAN’s – Traditional providers

Requires service provide intervention if changes are required in the WAN (except with a WANRack Private Fiber WAN). Delays or provisioning windows can take up to 60-90 days.

Customer traffic usually rides on an oversubscribed shared network that can slow down (except with WANRack Private Fiber WAN). The sum of the speeds at the edge sites never add up equally at the Hub. With WANRack, it’s one to one, guaranteed.

Upgrades to higher bandwidth usually require a contract renewal and higher monthly charge (except with a WANRack Private Fiber WAN). With WANRack, an upgrade to higher bandwidth is the same price and doesn’t require a contract renewal.

Usually more prone to outages since service rides on a public network with multiple points of failure (except with a WANRack Private Fiber WAN). Traditional providers are constantly adding and subtracting customers from their networks which greatly increases the risk of an outage. They also host unnecessary equipment at the customer location which requires additional space, power, and air-conditioning.

Benefits of Dark fiber leased WANs

-Customer can upgrade bandwidth by changing the equipment at the ends of the fiber; no increase in monthly charge

-Customer can make changes without service provide intervention

-Unlimited future growth

-Cost of bandwidth is virtually fixed, independent of the amount needed, because the only thing required to increase bandwidth is to change the equipment at the ends of the fiber. No increase in monthly recurring costs and no contract renewal is necessary.

-E-rate Category 1 eligible

Challenges of Dark fiber leased WANs – Traditional providers

Most providers will NOT offer dark fiber. They know they’ll never get to increase the cost as the customer increases service. It’s quite rare to find this option.

High upfront cost of equipment to light up fiber

Increases operational load and expense to customer as they need to monitor and maintain another layer in their network

Best of both worlds with a WANRack Private Fiber WAN

WANRack’s Private WAN solutions provide  unlimited growth at a fixed cost over the long term. For a fixed monthly charge, WANRack provides you with dedicated fiber pairs between all of your sites directly to your hub and we maintain and operate all WAN plant and equipment (Lit option). When you are ready to upgrade there is no increase in cost or contracts to renew. We do all this while still providing you with a dedicated Private Fiber WAN just for you.

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