Get Pricing Now

Dark Fiber vs. Lit Fiber: What Is the Difference?

As fiber optic cables increasingly become the norm, many business owners still see them as relatively new. In your attempts to understand the technology, you’ve probably come across terms like lit fiber and dark fiber.

But what do these terms mean? How will they affect your fiber internet services?

Fortunately, weighing dark fiber vs. lit fiber will help you answer these questions and understand the differences between the two.

In this post, we take a closer look at the two terms, highlighting the benefits of opting for business fiber internet by TelcoSolutions.

How Do Fiber Optic Cables Work?

Fiber optic cables contain multiple glass fiber strands that transmit data using light at high speeds over great distances. Additionally, the technology permits the transmission of multiple data streams in a single fiber.

Fiber accomplishes this through dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), which transmits different streams at different wavelengths.

As such, with the right network equipment, your network’s capacity and speed will seem almost infinite. In fact, thanks to DWDM, your business can use a fraction of the cable’s bandwidth to transmit data in the same cable other companies use.

Such a setup works great for organizations with well-defined, regular network needs and that lack in-house network engineering abilities.

Alternatively, dark fiber will suit you better if you need more bandwidth, care about optimizing latency, and want to manage network infrastructure yourself. However, between dark fiber vs. lit fiber, which is better?

What Is Lit Fiber?

Lit fiber refers to fiber cables used by the electronics of a network provider. In most cases, businesses have well-defined bandwidth needs and leave the connection’s management to their ISP provider.

The service provider handles everything, from installation to operation. This leaves you to simply enjoy reliable, high-speed services without worrying about what goes on behind the scenes.

Benefits of Lit Fiber

Some of the advantages lit fiber offers include:

  • Convenience: Lit fiber networks allow you to plug and play without too much hassle. Furthermore, with your network provider managing connectivity, you can focus on running your business.
  • Scalability: Lit fiber bandwidth capacities continue to grow.
  • Affordability: Managing your fiber using this setup is extremely affordable.

Disadvantages of Lit Fiber

As great as the connection might be, lit fiber has some flaws. Some of the drawbacks that come with using such networks include:

  • Restricted bandwidth: In a lit fiber connection, your provider delivers a specific and restricted amount of bandwidth.
  • Increased cost for extra bandwidth: If you need to increase your bandwidth, the additional capacity could come with increased rates.
  • Reduced control:- This reduced control can limit your business. For instance, you have no control over the maintenance windows needed to keep the network optimal.

What Is Dark Fiber?

Dark fiber refers to the unused optic cable an organization leases from a network provider to manage privately. In this setup, the responsibility of buying and managing your connectivity falls on you.

With these unused fiber strands, you get to dictate network security, capabilities, and speed without any limits on uptime and bandwidth.

Benefits of Dark Fiber

Dark fiber networks offer an exclusivity that lit fiber cannot. You get complete control to design and manage the network in ways that best work for your unique business needs.

Users get to enjoy advantages such as:

  • Scalability: Dark fiber’s ultra-scalable bandwidth lets you scale up with little to no effort. The electronics you choose to use will determine your network’s speeds.
  • Great reliability: As your network’s sole user, you don’t have to rely on someone else to handle maintenance and upgrades. Your business’s IT team can schedule the necessary services at the most convenient times.
  • Better than building your network: Rather than start from scratch and install new cables, this makes a better and more cost-effective option as you use a ready-for-use infrastructure.

Drawbacks of Dark Fiber

While dark fiber can provide you with an independent, scalable, and secure network, it has certain disadvantages, such as:

  • Resource intensive: Since you are in charge of managing your network, doing so efficiently will require more resources and expertise.
  • High costs: You’ll have to incur the costs associated with activating, maintaining, and upgrading your network.
  • Limited availability: Dark fiber networks are more prominent in urban areas.

Dark Fiber vs. Lit Fiber

Choosing fiber as your company’s connectivity solution promises to offer plenty of benefits. However, before enjoying these benefits, you’ll have to pick between dark fiber vs. lit fiber.

Unfortunately, no clear winner stands out between the two. The right connection will depend on your business’s unique needs.

For instance, lit fiber connections have affordable initial set-up costs and shorter set-up timescales. However, they might not have the capacity to scale up as quickly and easily as you’d like.

That said, with your carrier responsible for maintaining the connection, lit fiber offers time-saving convenience.

On the other hand, with dark fiber, your company:

  • Leases the fiber
  • Buys and maintains the network equipment
  • Hires the staff needed to keep everything running

Though this option comes with far fewer restrictions, it is more intensive. However, if you deem connectivity crucial to your business’s operations, dark fiber might be more suitable.

Every use case and connection creates a unique situation. In fact, businesses often leverage both dark and lit fiber setups in different instances.

Reliable Business Fiber Internet

With connectivity being crucial to business operations, the fiber connection you choose can either make or break your business.

Do you need professional assistance choosing between dark fiber vs. lit fiber? Speak with TelcoSolutions today.

We act as a liaison between businesses and major service providers, offering organizations the most cost-effective and reliable fiber connections. We leverage our long list of service providers, ensuring we give you the most suitable and best-priced option available.

Reach out to us today and begin enjoying the benefits of fiber optic internet.

Contact TelcoSolutions at 800-546-9810 to discuss your business needs and let us help you pick between dark fiber vs. lit fiber.

Contact information

Select the products you are looking for below

Select the products you are looking for
Thank you! We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Similar blogs

Why People Choose Us

With over 75 years of combined experience, the TelcoSolutions team has a wealth of knowledge in the telecom sector. We have seen drastic changes occur throughout this time, and have made it our priority to stay ahead of the curve to be able to offer our clients the right solutions at the best prices. We are able to do this by leveraging the 180 providers in our portfolio to find the correct solution for our individual clients. Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to us. Through our dedicated account management team, we ensure that the installation, on-boarding, billing, and customer service are all accounted for and run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Our experienced professionals and desire to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction are what set us apart from our competitors.

Service Area

While initially focused on the United States, TelcoSolutions has expanded to being able to offer solutions around the world. Our relationships with 180 providers allows us unprecedented access to offer voice, data and cloud solutions globally.

Get Started Now