Managed/Unmanaged Optical Wave Services vs Dark Fiber : Choosing What’s Right for You

For customers looking for ultra-high bandwidth transport, several fiber options are available:

1)      Buy a wave or multiple waves from fiber network service providers, like Alpheus.  Waves can come as a managed service or unmanaged.

2)      Buy a dark fiber strand and deploy your own optical network equipment

Let’s explore the differences between the two options so you get a better idea of which one might be more suitable for your business. For most businesses, even buying a couple of waves gives you a lot of capacity, probably more than you need. It doesn’t make much sense to deploy 40 channels/waves one dark fiber strand when you only need two waves.

We recently worked with a very large, fortune 500 drilling company that needed to connect its three large campuses, they onl  needed four channels/waves, so opting against dark fiber.

Our unmanaged wave service give you ownership of a wave within a fiber strand where you are given the flexibility to design the capacity, equipment and protocols of your own private wave. If you’re a carrier or a company with the expertise to manage the fiber optic technology and need the capacity, this option might work best for you.

If you don’t need astronomical capacity, you can opt for our managed wave service offering, a solution that makes sense for most enterprises. With managed wave services, Alpheus delivers high-bandwidth (2.5 Gbps) for your use, without the high capital and ongoing management costs and resources associated with fiber optic networking.

Beyond the managed and unmanaged wave services, dark fiber is generally purchased by telecommunications carriers where they need extremely high capacity to aggregate traffic from many customers.  Dark fiber is leased through a 20 year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU), a contract between the fiber owner and the customer that give the customers the exclusive right to use the strand of fiber. The customer pays an upfront fee for the IRU as well as a monthly operating cost to the fiber cable owner for maintaining the network facility.  As I mentioned previously, dark fiber is mostly purchased by telecom carriers or aggregators of extremely high amount of network traffic.

Francisco Maella, COO, Alpheus Communications