Dark Fibre’s Role in Supercharging Edge Data Centers

In response to Proximity Data Centre’s e-book, Glide’s CTO, Sean Lowry explores the impact of low latency on gaming, the Metaverse, and AI. He explains how dark fibre and Glide’s “Fibre Cities” are primed to support the evolving needs of edge data centres and seamless connectivity.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, dark fibre is the unsung hero behind the transformative potential of cloud gaming, the metaverse, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. “Dark fibre” refers to a dormant optical fibre that is installed but remains unlit, providing a blank canvas where its data transmission capacity and capability are determined by the customer’s equipment connected to either end. 

Critically, the price paid by the customer is independent of the speed or volume of data transported via dark fibre. This is in stark contrast to conventional high bandwidth services, where the service provider determines the price based on the speed and data capacity required. Whilst seemingly insignificant, dark fibre is pivotal in meeting the growing demands and unique challenges posed by cloud gaming, the metaverse, and AI applications.

As the cloud reshapes the gaming industry, the metaverse redefines virtual existence, and AI applications revolutionise multiple industries, dark fibre is the unassuming backbone. It forms the foundation upon which everything else relies, delivering potentially unlimited data capacity, rapid transmission speeds and ultra-low latency. 

Empowering Cloud Gaming with Dark Fibre

In the dynamic world of cloud gaming, low-latency networks are essential for delivering an immersive and seamless gaming experience. Latency, the time it takes for data to travel between a gaming device and the server, is critical in cloud-based gaming. Gamers demand instantaneous response times as every millisecond impacts gameplay, determining whether the gamer executes a perfect headshot or misses the target. Dark fibre is pivotal in minimising this delay, enabling lightning-fast data transmission and ensuring that gaming delivers the ultimate experience.

Dark fibre networks are quietly but profoundly transforming the cloud gaming industry’s infrastructure. Dark fibre’s distinguishing feature is its adaptability. In cloud gaming, where every millisecond has significance, using dark fibre to establish dedicated, interference-free data pathways with no intermediate “hops” to cause delay is literally game-changing. By eradicating congestion and the multiple points of delay typical of conventional data networks, dark fibre substantially reduces network latency, ensuring instantaneous response to commands and instantaneous feedback on their effects. 

Cloud gaming relies on a widespread network of data centres where processing occurs, and the proximity of these centres to players is crucial for success. Dark fibre is vital in this context by connecting data centres with local service providers. This facilitates the strategic placement of data centres close to groups of players, reducing the physical distance data must travel and resulting in lower latency.

In essence, dark fibre is not just the backbone but the essence of cloud gaming. It is the key to achieving low-latency, high-quality gaming experiences by minimising the digital distance between players and their virtual adventures. 

It is worth noting that the same transformational effects apply in other industries. Trading platforms for example demand the same low-latency and high responsiveness – where a milliseconds delay can make or lose millions.

Enabling the Metaverse through Dark Fibre

The Metaverse is poised to redefine how we engage with digital environments, demanding unprecedented performance. Within this emerging virtual universe, where users expect an immersive and seamless experience, latency is the critical factor. Extremely low latency is the lifeblood of real-time interactions, whether exploring digital landscapes, attending virtual meetings, or participating in shared experiences.

Similarly to cloud gaming, dark fibre plays a pivotal role in delivering the low latency that is vital for real-time applications in the Metaverse. Dark fibre allows data, whether HD voice, ultra-high resolution video or vast arrays of interactive content, to be conveyed with minimal interruption. It empowers AR/VR devices to provide users with stunning, immersive experiences, enhancing the overall Metaverse environment. 

Fueling AI Innovation with Dark Fibre

In the realm of artificial intelligence, the insatiable appetite for data centre space and power is rapidly reshaping the landscape. AI applications, driven by advanced algorithms, are demanding unprecedented computational resources. With forecasts predicting up to a 300% growth in global data centre capacity, it is evident that the digital foundation upon which AI innovation rests is under considerable strain. This surge in demand is particularly evident in regions such as the UK’s South East, where a concentration of data centres is leading to local supply problems for land, electricity, and water.

Dark fibre emerges as a critical asset in sustaining this insatiable appetite for AI functionality. It provides the essential bandwidth and connectivity required for AI data processing, enabling the seamless transmission of vast datasets between data centres and local network infrastructure. Dark fibre’s high capacity ensures that data is transferred with minimal latency, thereby facilitating quicker real-time processing and decision-making—two fundamental pillars of AI applications.

Moreover, the decentralisation of data centres through the deployment of dark fibre offers a solution to the challenges of power and infrastructure. By distributing AI infrastructure across multiple locations and multiple data centres, the strain on resources in overburdened regions is alleviated. 

Dark fibre enables efficient interconnection between these decentralised facilities and local providers, reducing the pressure on essential resources. As the demand for AI and data processing capabilities continues to surge, the strategic use of dark fibre offers a pathway towards infrastructure sustainability. 

Sean Lowry

Sean is an accomplished CTO at Glide with over 14 years in the ISP/MSP sector.

Rise of the machines.

Ahsan Zafeer • 26th November 2022

Ahsan Zafeer covers topics related to tech and digital marketing and tweets @AhsanZafeer. Here he explains people’s fears as to why machines are taking over their jobs.