I’ve been asked this question a few times recently, and like most telecom-lifers, I’ve made the mistake of assuming everyone knows:
Dark Fibre is a strand of fibre optic cable that has been installed between two locations but is not connected to a larger, Carrier network. It’s a private link that the user is required to “light up” with their own optical network gear. Its extremely secure and bandwidth throughput is only limited by the electronics attached to the ends of it.
In most cases, the user leases the strand of fibre from a Carrier on a long-term basis (usually 10 or more years) though larger operations (Hydro Utilities, Universities and Municipalities, for example) may self-install because they have the staff in-house and own the ‘Right-of-ways’, poles and underground conduit required to do so.
Most Carriers have stopped providing Dark Fibre for purely economic reasons; its more financially lucrative for them to sell managed or ‘lit’ services on their network. Fibre Optic Infrastructure is a finite resource; Carriers only install so many strands of fibre in their networks and know its costly and time-consuming to expand ‘fibre-counts’ along established routes.
When you sell a single-strand of Dark Fibre, that circuit carries one service. A single strand of fibre that is part of a Carrier’s managed or ‘lit’ network can carry multiple, bi-directional signals, increasing the capacity of that network ten-fold and most importantly, maximizing revenue. This is also why Dark Fibre is considered a Premium product – priced higher than a managed service and offered for longer term lengths.
FlexNetworks is pleased to offer Dark Fibre (FlexDark) connections, along with our other core products of Internet (FlexIP) and Ethernet Private Line (FlexNet), within our two operating territories of Saskatchewan and Ottawa.
SD-WAN (SDWAN), or Software-Defined Wide Area Networking, is technology applied to Wide Area Network (WAN) connections that connect enterprise networks over large geographic distances. It moves network control into the cloud using software, simplifying the management of a WAN.
The SD-WAN solution must perform load sharing of traffic across multiple WAN connections efficiently and dynamically.
SD-WAN must simplify management, configuration, and orchestration of WAN solutions.
SD-WAN must provide secure VPN and integrate into firewalls, WAN optimization, and other network services.
How SD-WAN can benefit your business
Cloud-based applications make the business world go around. How your corporate network is designed directly affects your ability to access and properly utilize business-critical applications, share data, utilize social media services, connect via video conference, and more.
But applications aren’t uniform; they all don’t need the same level of speed, latency and performance from a network. By boosting network capacity exactly where it’s needed, SD-WAN ensures the quality of application delivery. SD-WAN’s dynamic path selection also avoids congestion points and diverts traffic to less-travelled routes. This kind of responsive load balancing lets IT easily perform the high-quality data transfers that are needed for high-performance applications.
Like me, you were probably vaguely aware of a debate taking place in the U.S. on something called Net Neutrality. I knew it had something to do with keeping the Internet an ‘open’ place; meaning no government or corporation could control it, regulate it or operate it. Once I started investigating it more deeply, however, I quickly came to realize how Net Neutrality could impact us here in Canada, too.
The FCC, America’s version of the CRTC, recently repealed Net Neutrality rules in the United States (New York Times Net Neutrality Repealed), allowing their mega ISP’s, think Verizon and Comcast, to gain control of the Internet. How? By giving them the ability to throttle traffic, based on a multitude of factors.
Essentially, they are now free to create an Internet highway with multiple lanes, each with different speeds and permitted applications – you pay for the super-fast lane, you get high-speed/unlimited data transfer plus Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. You pay for the slow lane, you get a lot less.
Think about this for a second: when was the last time you picked up a landline telephone somewhere in Canada and didn’t get a dial-tone? I can recall maybe one or two times in the distant past when I got a ‘fast-busy’ signal instead of the tell-taledrone of dial-tone.
The geographic disparity of our vast country did not stop each of the provincial telephone companies nor the Federal Government from investing the billions of dollars required to build out both the provincial and national phone network, to the point that we have achieved 99% dial-tone coverage across Canada. It is and continues to be a universal right that all Canadians, regardless of their location, have access to landline dial-tone.
Broadband internet access, however, is another story.