Cable compendium: a guide to the week’s submarine and terrestrial developments

20 Mar 2015

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has completed upgrade and expansion work on the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-4 (SEA-ME-WE-4) submarine cable system. The Japanese vendor has supplied the cable’s 16 landing stations with its 100G MF-6900GWS Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE), in order to upgrade the cable’s current capacity from 40Gbps to 100Gbps and to expand the ultimate design capacity from 2,800Gbps to 4,600Gbps. The new SLTE has reportedly doubled the data capacity per rack and reduced power consumption per unit of data volume by 47% for each landing station. The 20,000km SEA-ME-WE-4 undersea link, which was commissioned in 2005, is owned by a consortium of 16 leading telecom carriers from 14 countries.

Interoute, which owns and operates a pan-European fibre-optic network spanning 67,000km, has added a third diverse fibre-optic network route to its 7,000km Italian network, in order to link its landing stations in Bari (Puglia) and Mazara del Vallo (Sicily) via Messina and Catania. The new route provides diverse, high capacity connectivity from Interoute’s landing stations to submarine cables looking to connect to Europe. The 1,300km stretch of fibre is designed to support 8Tbps of traffic, while offering wavelength service of up to 100Gbps. The new fibre link is expected to reduce the vulnerability and risks associated with a single point of failure, and enable wholesale users with a significantly shortened submarine cable route, by offering an alternative landing point in the south of the country. Renzo Ravaglia, manager of Interoute’s Service Provider business, commented: ‘With this further expansion of its network Interoute is making Southern Italy the most attractive landing point for all the submarine cables wanting to reach Europe, that come from the Far East, Middle East and Africa.’

Carrier-of-carriers UFINET has expanded its network capability by deploying *Padtec*’s Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) equipment, based on Optical Transport Network (OTN) transponders, across its network. The Reconfigurable Optical Add Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) equipment will allow greater flexibility and capacity to adapt to changing traffic networks. UFINET’s 13,000km international network connects a number of countries in Central America, extending from southern Mexico, through to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. In addition, new infrastructure has been deployed in Colombia as part of the recent upgrade.

Intelligent Transport Networks supplier Infinera and wholesale carrier services provider BICS have successfully completed a laboratory trial of Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK), 8 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and 16QAM transmission over OFS Terawave large area/low loss (LA/LL) fibre, which is optimised for terrestrial cables. The trial included a range of advanced FlexCoherent modulation features and showed the dramatic improvement in optical reach and capacity that could be achieved if these new fibres are deployed in terrestrial and submarine fibre links. High order modulations, such as 16QAM, promise to deliver double the capacity of QPSK – the de facto 100Gbps modulation – at the expense of 80% reduction in reach, using existing fibre types. In a recent submarine cable trial, 8QAM delivered a reach of over 2,200km, while increasing capacity by 50%. When the same test was performed on the new LA/LL fibre, 8QAM demonstrated an optical reach of up to 7,400km with a 50% increase in fibre capacity.

Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL), the country’s incumbent fixed line operator, is looking for a joint venture (JV) partner for the development and operation of a national fibre-optic backbone. BiztechAfrica reports that MTL has invited applications from private sector companies to cooperate in the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the development and operation of a national backbone network (NBN). MTL’s current fibre infrastructure connects Malawi to the Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) cable via Tanzania and Mozambique.

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