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Ethernet EoDWDM Wavelength Service
Why high speed fiber optic Ethernet makes sense using wavelength services.

By: John Shepler

Organizations with very high bandwidth requirements, such as financial institutions, content delivery networks, video production houses, research labs, hospital groups, data centers, may need more performance than standard telecom line services can provide. One approach is to build-out a custom fiber network by installing your own fiber or leasing dark fiber strands. Another is to lease wavelengths on already lit fiber.

Your Own Fiber
Installing your own fiber on campus makes a lot of sense, since you control the property as well as the networking assets. Once you leave your premises, however, fiber construction gets very expensive very fast… even if you can obtain the necessary right-of-way permissions.

Using Dark Fiber
This is where dark fiber has found a niche. What is dark fiber? It is simply fiber optic cable that has been installed in the ground or on utility poles but never activated or “lit.” The cable may have been put in place in anticipation of future needs. Often, some strands in the cable are already in use, but there are other fiber pairs still dark.

Dark fiber has the advantage of already being in place and giving you the most flexibility in what you want to do with it. However, dark fiber assets aren’t always available where you want to go. You also have the responsibility of supplying the maintaining the terminal equipment that powers the fiber. This may be more costly that many organizations can afford and, perhaps, unnecessary.

Using Lit Fiber
The opposite of dark fiber is lit fiber. The fiber is not only installed, but the terminal equipment has been put in place and is operational. This is most often done by service providers who offer bandwidth to companies and other organizations that can use it and are located in the “service footprint” of the carrier.

Lit fiber is now popular for private connections and dedicated Internet access from 10 Mbps on up to OC-48 (2.4 Gbps) and Gigabit Ethernet (1 Gbps). A given carrier may offer either SONET, Ethernet or both protocols. All size organizations are moving from copper to fiber bandwidth services as fiber becomes more available and costs decline.

What if you need more bandwidth, higher security or more flexibility in protocols? Are you back to leasing dark fiber or installing your own?

Advantages of Wavelength Services
There’s an intermediate step that is perhaps the perfect solution to many demanding needs. This is wavelength services. While fiber cables have multiple glass strands or fibers, each fiber strand can also be divided into multiple colors or wavelengths. This is done by shining a few to dozens of different frequency laser beams down the glass fiber. Since each beam has its own wavelength, it operates independently of the other beams. It’s like fibers within fibers.

DWDM or Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology can provide over 100 different wavelengths per fiber pair. This makes it very cost effective to transport private line connections for many users on a fiber network. It’s quite practical to lease one or more wavelengths for your high bandwidth applications.

Ethernet on Wavelength Services
Ethernet over DWDM or EoDWDM is a way of extending your high performance local network across town or around the country. It’s an Ethernet connection that’s available in bandwidths from 1 Gbps up to 100 Gbps and readily scaled up and down as needed. Popular service levels are 1 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps.

This is dedicated service because no one but you is using a particular wavelength. You have all the bandwidth to yourself with the security of not having other users data streams multiplexed on your circuit.

With wavelength services, such as EoDWDM, the burden of running the network is left to the service provider. Wavelengths are often called managed wavelength services because the service provider maintains the fiber, terminal equipment & repeaters plus monitors operation 24/7. You simply connect at each end. You can opt for protected service that switches to a new wavelength or fiber if the circuit fails and even diverse routes so that no one disaster is likely to knock out service completely.

Do you find yourself in an increasing bandwidth situation and wanting to consider all the options available for your particular locations? If so, get fiber optic network services and pricing, plus recommendations from expert consultants.

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