What Is the Difference Between Dark and Lit Fiber?

Tachus Community


July 14, 2023

As you’ve been learning about fiber and how it works, you might have come across the terms “lit fiber” and “dark fiber.” What exactly do these terms mean, and how are they relevant to the fiber Internet service we receive? In this post, we’ll discuss the key differences between lit and dark fiber networks. To gain a better understanding of why these differences are important, let’s first discuss how fiber works.

How Does Fiber-Optic Internet Work?

As you’ll hear us frequently state, there is no Internet connection that is faster than fiber. This is made possible by the light pulses that fiber networks use to transmit data. Fiber networks are capable of this because they are comprised of thin glass strands. These light pulses are unique to fiber-optic communication and will never be seen in the copper infrastructure that cable networks use. As the names “lit fiber” and “dark fiber” might imply, the light pulses are the main difference between the two different kinds of fiber networks.

What Is Lit Fiber?

When a fiber network is lit, this means the entire network is active. Tachus installs and utilizes a lit fiber network to deliver Internet service to all of its homes. This means our entire network is in use and is actively transmitting data. A lit fiber network also requires no management or maintenance by the customer. The provider and owner of the network is single-handedly responsible for the network’s installment, maintenance, and service. In the case of dark fiber, which is less public and less regulated, a lot of those responsibilities fall on the user, as well as several costs that they wouldn’t have to worry about in the case of a lit network.

What Is Dark Fiber?

As you’ve likely figured out, dark fiber networks have no light pulsing through them, as they are currently dormant and not in use. These networks are owned by the Internet service providers that installed them, but instead of using them to actively transmit data to their customers, they lease them out to businesses seeking increased speed and security. A drawback for this would be that any business or organization using dark fiber networks will require the funds and expertise to light, operate, maintain, and repair these networks; all of which would normally be handled by the provider of a lit fiber network. While dark fiber networks might make sense for a lot of larger corporations or groups, it wouldn’t be feasible for a homeowner or even a group of homeowners to utilize them. The costs and work that would be required would not be worth it.

What Are the Benefits of a Lit Fiber Network?

At Tachus, we own and operate a lit fiber network because that is the most affordable and convenient way for households to receive a fast and reliable Internet connection. By keeping our fiber network lit, we enable our customers to sign up and start receiving our service immediately. Homeowners that use fiber should be provided with a fully managed service and no responsibility to maintain, operate, or pay for additional costs for a fiber network.

If you’re not sure whether you have access to a lit fiber network, check your address on our website and see if we’re in your area. If we’re not, learn how you can bring Tachus into your community.


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