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

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18 May 2018

Caucasus Online has selected Ciena to enhance its 1,200km submarine cable across the Black Sea to realise an increase in data transfer capacity of up to 5Tbps. By deploying Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme submarine solution with high-density 100G transponders, the operator is integrating multi-protocol and low-latency capabilities into its Caucasus Cable System, which links Poti (Georgia) on the eastern shore of the Black Sea with Balchik on the Bulgarian coast. Collaborating with Ciena and its partner NUTS:iX, Caucasus Online is working to increase the speed and capacity of data transfers across its existing submarine cable, while offering additional benefits such as the ability to adjust bandwidth in real-time to optimise capacity and fibre investment. With Ciena developing the network design, NUTS:iX played a key role in the implementation by coordinating multiple parties to ensure a quick turn-up and minimal downtime.

Wholesale telecommunications company GlobeNet has selected Ciena technology to deliver 200G wavelengths along its 23,500km GlobeNet fibre-optic cable system linking Brazil with Venezuela, Colombia, Bermuda and the US. The deployment will help GlobeNet improve its network resiliency, increase system capacity and reduce latency. By implementing Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme solution, including the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform powered by WaveLogic Ai coherent optics, GlobeNet can guarantee network availability by addressing potential faults using software intelligence and automation. To increase the capacity and redundancy of GlobeNet’s subsea netwcoork, Ciena’s solution is configured with a Packet/OTN architecture, ensuring multi-site connectivity with 200G wavelengths to handle data growth. Additionally, Ciena’s Blue Planet Manage, Control, Plan (MCP) software improves network visibility through real-time software control.

NEC Corporation has announced the successful completion of transmission tests across a commercial submarine network using artificial intelligence (AI) and probabilistic shaping at a modulation of 64QAM. In a joint research publication with Google, NEC says it demonstrated a spectral efficiency of 6bps/Hz over an 11,000km submarine cable segment. With a potential capacity of over 26Tbps in the C-band, this is more than 2.5 times the capacity intended for the undersea cable initially, with no additional wet plant capital expenditure. The team used near-Shannon probabilistic-shaping at a modulation of 64QAM to accomplish the result. NEC also disclosed that AI was used to analyse data for nonlinearity compensation (NLC) ‘for the first time on a live cable’. NEC said it plans to continue AI-based research to both increase system capacity and decrease implementation complexity.

The SeaMeWe-3 subsea cable connecting Perth and Singapore is down for the third time since August 2017 due to an undisclosed fault. ‘*Vocus* is advising customers that our Perth to Singapore link is currently offline due to a SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable fault,’ the company said in a press note. Vocus said there is no current estimated time of restoration for the cable. The cable was previously offline between late August and mid-October 2017, only to be cut again just six weeks later in December 2017. SeaMeWe-3 is currently the sole subsea cable linking Western Australia with South East Asia, though the Vocus-run Australia-Singapore cable (ASC) – which is almost complete, with a ready for service (RFS) date of July 2018 – will provide redundancy to the route. Another cable, Superloop’s 9,000km INDIGO subsea cable system (announced in April last year), which will connect Sydney and Perth (INDIGO-Central) with Singapore and Jakarta (INDIGO-West), is also set to follow; the regional consortium building the system comprises Google, SubPartners, Telstra, Australian research network AARNet and telcos Indosat Ooredoo and Singtel. The Indigo cables are expected to be completed in Q1 2019.

French service provider Orange is planning to upgrade its network connectivity by providing three terrestrial links between Marseille and Penmarch. The first route is now operational, with a direct terrestrial connection between the two cities via Lyon, Dijon, Paris and Rennes, with the Marseille-Lyon-Paris-Nantes-Penmarch and Marseille-Toulouse-Bordeaux-Poitiers-Nantes-Penmarch routes scheduled to be in service by the end of 2018. The three new routes are each 1,600km to 1,700km long and provide proportionate round-trip delay times (RTDs) of 18ms. The direct interconnection provides advanced service, redundancy, and security by linking 15 submarine cable routes from Asia, the Middle East and West Africa. ‘Thanks to the new terrestrial connection developed by Orange between Marseille and Penmarch, the role and importance of Marseille as a gateway between Europe and Africa, the Middle East and Asia is enhanced,’ said Mike Hollands, Interxion’s director of market development and strategy, adding: ‘Our customers in Marseille can now directly connect to Western Africa via the ACE subsea system, bringing to over 40 the number of countries that are connected via subsea cables to Marseille.’

Orange has revealed that its network in Cote d’Ivoire will be fully restored next week after a fire at a submarine cable station in the commercial capital Abidjan affected its networks, Bloomberg writes. Spokesperson Fanta Sidibe said: ‘The investigation showed a cable was cut … Service is now at 85% and we’re working on getting full service back.’ The incident left most parts of Abidjan without a network connection, with Orange estimating that the fault caused damages of roughly USD3.5 million.

Lastly, International private equity firm Cinven has announced that its Fifth Fund has agreed to sell Madrid-based fibre network provider Ufinet Group to a consortium formed by Antin Infrastructure Partners (which is acquiring Ufinet Spain) and the Sixth Cinven Fund (which is acquiring Ufinet International) for an undisclosed consideration. Ufinet provides fibre infrastructure and transmission services to telecom operators in Spain and international markets over a fibre network spanning more than 66,800km across two continents. Cinven acquired Ufinet in June 2014 from Spanish utility provider Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) for EUR510 million (USD602 million). The respective sale transactions – which would generate over EUR1.1 billion in capital gain – are not subject to any mandatory conditions (regulatory or otherwise) and both are expected to complete simultaneously in July 2018.

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