Fiber optics are flexible fibers that transmit large amounts of data and communications as pulses of light across a network.
Dark fiber is optical fiber infrastructure that a company puts in place but is not yet using. It is “dark” because no light pulses are being transmitted and, thus, it is not yet part of the network and no data is being sent. A company will often install dark fiber to prepare for its future use. This creates a scalable network where an organization can keep pace with the exponential demand for bandwidth. What’s more, the organization does not need to have fiber installed again and again over time. It is already there, ready to be used when the need dictates.
Broadband is defined as a band of frequencies designed to transmit information in a given amount of time, measured by Mbps or Gbps. This can be visualized by imagining broadband as a highway carrying cars, or data – the more lanes on the highway, the more cars (data) that can be transported in a shorter amount of time. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated its definition of broadband to 25Mbps upload speed and 3Mbps download speed. This benchmark defines whether or not broadband is being deployed at the appropriate speed.
Bandwidth is defined as the amount of data a computer or device can receive, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). It represents data transfer rate, meaning the amount of data that can travel from one point to another in a given amount of time. Mbps represents how much data can be delivered at one time. Thus, the more bandwidth you have, the more information you can receive per second.
Capacity refers to the space and infrastructure that is in place to meet the needs of an increasing number of network users and devices. Capacity is added by organizations in anticipation of network growth.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A wide area network (WAN) is a network of computers within an organization connected across a large geographical area.
Local Exchange Carrier (LEC)
A local exchange carrier (LEC) is simply defined as a local telephone company. These companies are separated into competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) and incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).
Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC)
A competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) is a telephone company that competes by providing its own network and switching. CLECs are new carriers that compete with local exchange carriers (LECs) that are already established.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC)
An incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) is a local telephone company that held a monopoly throughout a region before competition was introduced through the inclusion of CLECs.
A gigabit is a unit of data measured as one billion bits and is generally used as the standard of measurement used by enterprises to assess the efficiency of their communication capabilities. It measures the amount of data transported over a network per second.
A wavelength is transmitted between points along a fiber route through laser light. The wave is modulated to carry information, combining data from different sources on a single optical fiber and providing dedicated bandwidth that guarantees performance with common transfer rates.
When it comes to network connectivity, a smart city can be defined as a municipality that is focused on providing high-speed gigabit per second (Gbps) internet to its residents and businesses through dark fiber and network infrastructure. It enables a community to use technology and enhanced communication capabilities as tools to bring about positive change in homes, schools and workplaces.
Smart infrastructure is able to assess a network, allowing for real-time analysis and updates. Sensors are embedded in smart infrastructure to collect and interpret information in order to monitor and enhance the network and diagnose any problems that might arise. This creates a more efficient and reliable infrastructure.
A data center is a facility that houses a network of servers that organizations use to remotely store and manage crucial data. A public data center houses servers for a variety of companies, while a private data center is exclusive to one organization.
A colocation (or colo) facility is a data center that allows an organization to rent space for servers and hardware. Colocation offers the space, power, security, efficiency, cooling and bandwidth, while the companies renting that space provide the servers needed for data storage.
The cloud gives organizations the benefit of virtual hosted services in order to manage data, workloads and business applications without having to host their own IT infrastructure in their own facilities.
Cloud-based architecture is comprised of the various elements required to make cloud computing possible. These elements include computers, servers and data storage – all connected through a network.
Scalability describes the ability of a network or application to continue to perform at optimal levels even as the need for bandwidth increases.
Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to transfer from Point A to Point B over a network. The lower the latency – meaning the closer to 0 – the better.
Data and Network Security
Data and network security protects online data from cyber criminals and hackers who seek to illegally obtain or destroy it. Strong security measures are put in place to defend these attacks through a variety of advanced methods.
High Frequency Trading (HFT)
Large investment firms utilize High Frequency Trading (HFT), which is an automated means of processing a large number of trades/transactions at high speeds over a network. Low latency is key in HFT, as shaving mere milliseconds from a trade provides a competitive edge.
Network compliance is critical to the security of an organization, as it creates an environment aimed at keeping critical data safe from hacks as well as employee misuse or abuse. In short, it means meeting the demands of IT security regulations, often created and maintained by the government. Different verticals must comply with different demands – such as the healthcare industry (HIPAA), finance (Sabranes-Oxley Act and GLB Act) and hospitality (PCI Security Standard Council).
Physical diversity within a network is created when a fiber route bypasses other commonly used, high-traffic routes, thus striving for low latency while avoiding single points of failure through fast and diverse fiber access and connectivity. With a separate and distinct route, organizations can rest assured they have an alternate path, which creates network redundancy that ensures the network will remain available.
Disaster recovery is the ability of a network and/or data center to endure and recover from a disaster, be it natural or manmade. A diverse and redundant route offers an alternate path that allows communications to resume as quickly as possible, while also retrieving lost data.