LEARN's optical fiber network spans over 3,200 miles across the state, connecting its over 600 direct or affiliated customers east to west from Beaumont to El Paso and north to south from Amarillo to Brownsville. LEARN is built on dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) optical technology, providing the capability to transport multiple high capacity signals over a shared optical fiber by using the different color wavelengths of laser light. DWDM is state-of-the-art technology that is very scalable and permits LEARN to leverage its initial investment in optical fiber by adding additional capacity at marginal costs.
LEARN's network relies on agreements with the private sector that provide the long-term use of optical dark fibers and/or long-term leases of optical wavelength capacity. When dark fiber is conveyed via an indefeasible right to use (IRU) agreement, LEARN provides the infrastructure to "light" the fiber and can add additional capacity as needed without having to revise a contract with the fiber owner. In wavelength capacity agreements, the service provider provides the infrastructure and bandwidth under the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Deploying LEARN-owned high-performance routers at its 20 strategically-located Points of Presence (POPs), LEARN makes it possible for its members and affiliates to bridge the last mile with their own network connections at minimal costs. In most cases LEARN's network segments are protected through rings that insure continued operation of the network in case of a fiber cut or other disruption to a segment.
Several university systems as well as the Texas Education Telecommunications Network (TETN) operate their own networks which in turn are linked into LEARN's statewide fiber infrastructure at LEARN's POPs. LEARN cooperates closely with those other organizations to ensure that high-performance networking is made available at the lowest cost, best reliability, and highest performance possible.