Optical Wavelength Services for Higher Data Rate, Secure and Dedicated Connectivity


Optical Wavelength Services for Higher Data Rate, Secure and Dedicated Connectivity

Request Quotation for Wavelength Services

In one of our posts, A Guide To Carrier Wide Area Networking (WAN) Solutions, we discussed a number of wide area networking solutions available to enterprises, institutions and other organizations. Some of the options include building complete WAN infrastructure, dark fiber, optical wavelength services and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). In this article, the focus is on optical wavelength services.

The key advantage of optical networking is the massive amount of frequency (or wavelength) spectrum available in optical fibers. Using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, multiple data channels each at a unique wavelength, can be transmitted in the same fiber at ultra-high data rates. Point to point optical wavelength services are now readily available with more than 90 data channels in one optical fiber at 100 Gbps or more per channel. With 400 Gigabit Ethernet already ratified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), some operators will soon be offering optical wavelength services at such blazing speeds.

For Banks, Financial Institutions and Government agencies, security is oftentimes a key consideration when selecting a WAN solution. Some will opt to invest huge sums of money to deploy their own optical infrastructure even if the capacity required is STS-3/STM1 (155 Mbps). This is because they are too concerned about security to share data networks with other customers.

Because in optical wavelength services, each data channel occupies a different wavelength and is isolated (in frequency space) from other data channels, subscribers can be confident that their data is completely secure. Thus, optical wavelength services are a very cost-effective alternative to building network infrastructure or even leasing dark fiber. Moreover, because optical wavelength services are fully managed, the subscriber serves on OPEX since all operation and maintenance are handled by the network provider.

Important considerations when shopping for optical wavelength services

Protected vs unprotected wavelength services

Network protection is an end to end scheme that offers an alternative to a network path or redundancy. With a protected service, when there is failure in the network path due to a cable cut or other issues, data is rerouted through a different path so that you never lose a connection. Unprotected services are less expensive and they are suitable for applications that do not necessarily need to be on at all times.

Coverage – Metropolitan, National or Global optical wavelength services

Most network providers operate Metropolitan networks that cover single metropolitan areas. For example, if you need a wavelength service to connect a colocation data center in Chelsea, Manhattan (New York) to a business site in Brooklyn (New York), then a Metropolitan Wide Area Network (MAN) provider can be used. There will be a large number of such providers to choose from. National operators, with networks that cover the whole country can offer national services, for connecting sites in different parts of the country. However, if you are a multinational organization wishing to connect a site in Washington D.C. to one in Harare, Zimbabwe – for example – your options are very limited. This is where FiberGuide offers the best value to identify a suitable provider.


You must know the maximum bandwidth capacity available with a wavelength service. Majority of providers currently offer a maximum of 100 Gbps while a few can offer up to 200 Gbps. You also need to know the minimum you can subscribe to and the incremental step by whic you can increase your bandwidth when requirements change. Typical services are offered as 1 Gbps to 100 Gbps in 1Gbps increments or 2.5 Gbps to 100 Gbps in 2.5 Gbps increments. Thus, if you need a wavelength service with a bandwidth of 1 Gbps on day and increase to 2 Gbps in the near future, the former option is most suitable for you.

Communication protocol

Typical communication protocols offered by network providers with their wavelength services include Ethernet, SONET/SDH, and Optical Transport Networking (OTN).

SONET (SDH in EMEA) is very widely deployed and may be the only choice available in certain location. We encourage potential subscribers to be sure that Ethernet and/or OTN is not available before settling for SONET/SDH.

Ethernet is becoming very popular with most enterprises because of scalability, ubiquity of Ethernet interfaces and lowest cost per bit. Read more about advantages of Carrier Ethernet on FiberGuide.

OTN is the most versatile protocol available. Different transport types – including SONET/SDH, Ethernet, Storage and Digital Video can be wrapped into OTN and transported over a wavelength service. Read  An Experts Guide to OTN from CIENA for more details.

How to get a quotation and support from FiberGuide

FiberGuide offers a quotation service for wavelength services and other WAN solutions from a large number of providers. We are product specialists, and we are available to you as a free resource. We will match your technical requirements with one or more provider solutions.

In addition to narrowing down your options and providing you with the best pricing, we will also work with you through provisioning and beyond implementation. In other words, in addition to having a direct relationship with the network provider, we will remain as an ongoing resource to help you with any questions or issues you may have with your selected provider.

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