The Importance of Fiber Access in New Data Center Projects
Fiber optic cabling is one of many technologies that allows the world to be more connected than ever before. Learn why fiber access is so critical for data centers today and how expanding fiber networks are opening up more opportunities for data center builds across the country.
The Importance of Fiber Access for Data Centers
Copper cabling has long been the standard for data center networks, but as capacity and speed demands increase, that’s beginning to change. Today, the largest and most sophisticated data centers depend on ultra-fast and reliable fiber optic networks to deliver low-latency data processing.
Fiber offers serious advantages over traditional copper cabling. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Speed and bandwidth: Fiber optic cables can transmit up to 800 gigabits of data per second—many times more than what copper cabling can handle.
- Distance: Fiber optic cables can transport data much farther than copper cabling, which maxes out at 100 meters.
- Reliability: Fiber optic cables are more reliable because they are unaffected by issues that plague copper, including electromagnetic interference (EMI) and the weather.
It’s no wonder that data centers are increasingly turning to fiber optic networks. To make the most of fiber’s advantages, data centers should position themselves within major fiber routes and intersections.
What Is Dark Fiber?
Some data center project leads look for a location where they can tap into what’s known as dark fiber, meaning unused fiber optic cables available for lease or purchase.
Although the fiber networks are initially installed by a third party, they’re managed by the data center using them. This solution allows data centers to have more control over their use of fiber and optimize their routing.
A prominent example of dark fiber in the data center world is a dark fiber route in the southeast, built out by DC BLOX. Because this part of the country is a data center hub, greater fiber access will be extremely advantageous for hyperscalers establishing data centers in the area.
How Fiber Connectivity Is Impacting the Location of New Data Centers
Considering how fiber networks deliver high-speed, high-capacity, and reliable connectivity, it makes sense that access to these networks is a major factor for data center owners looking for a location to build.
Major data center hubs like Silicon Valley or Northern Virginia may be more likely to have well-established fiber networks, but as these primary markets become saturated, hyperscalers, colo providers and enterprises are looking to secondary markets. In addition to having more real estate, secondary markets offer opportunities to take advantage of more favorable climates, increased tax incentives, and closer proximity to end users.
Choosing these less-popular locations is becoming more feasible because fiber access is expanding across the U.S.
For example, American Electric Power has established state-of-the-art fiber optics near Columbus, Ohio, helping advance this area as a new data center build destination. Salt Lake City is another example of a growing secondary market with attractive fiber infrastructure.
Even if a company wants to build a data center where fiber connectivity is sparse, they may be able to negotiate with fiber providers to extend their lines. This can be a profitable move for the fiber company, making it a win-win for both parties.
Learn More About the Ever-Evolving World of Data Centers
Access to high-speed fiber is a key factor in data center builds, and it will continue to empower data centers to meet growing capacity demands and move more data at faster speeds.
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