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

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1 Mar 2019

The MAREA transatlantic subsea cable has achieved a record data transfer speed of 26.2Tbps on a pair of its fibre-optic cables during an experiment. The trial yielded a 20% increase in the previous theoretical maximum of 20Tbps per fibre pair. The MAREA submarine cable – stretching 6,600km across the Atlantic Ocean from Bilbao (Spain) to Virginia (US) – is a joint project between Telxius, Facebook and Microsoft. Global telecoms infrastructure company Telxius, a subsidiary of Telefonica, joined the two original partners Microsoft and Facebook in May 2016, to manage the construction process and operate the cable, with deployment work on the system commencing in August. The system, which entered commercial operations in February 2018, features eight fibre-pairs and an initial design capacity of 160Tbps.

Internet service provider Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA), a subsidiary of Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Grupo ICE), is planning to perform maintenance work on the Maya-1 Cable System linking the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. The Costa Rica Star writes that the maintenance work – scheduled to run from 1 March until 3 March – will take the fibre-optic submarine cable out of operation. RACSA has warned its subscribers that service interruptions and/or an increase in latency is expected while traffic is rerouted. Maya-1 – which was certified ready for service (RFS) in October 2000 – is co-owned by Grupo ICE, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Hondutel, Telefonica, Orbitel, Telecom Italia Sparkle, C&W Networks, Embratel, ETB, Axtel, BICS, Prepa Networks, Orange, Tricom, RSL Telecom and America Movil.

Azerbaijan’s Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade and Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev have met with Huawei representatives to discuss the potential participation of the company in the deployment of a fibre-optic cable line along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as part of the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) backbone project, Trend reports. As noted by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, a preliminary MoU regarding the implementation of the TASIM system was signed in Baku, Azerbaijan in December 2013, by China Telecom (China), KazTransCom (Kazakhstan), Rostelecom (Russia), Turk Telekom (Turkey) and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT). When finalised, the backbone network will connect 20 countries via two alternative routes – Southern and Northern – stretching from Frankfurt (Germany) to Hong Kong.

Xtera has demonstrated a novel approach to submarine line design by transmitting 74.38Tbps over a transatlantic distance on Single Mode Fibre. The result gives a record-breaking spectral efficiency of 6.86b/s/Hz over 6,300km across the C and L bands. The experiment, which was performed in collaboration with University College London (UCL), used a hybrid distributed-Raman/EDFA amplifier with a bandwidth of 91nm, which is an adaptation of the technology which Xtera currently deploys in its submarine repeaters. The experiment was performed on a recirculating loop comprised of nine spans, each with 70km of Single Mode Fibre and a hybrid distributed-Raman/EDFA amplifier.

Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom has selected Huawei’s end-to-end 400G solution for its next-generation backbone network. The 400G solution will replace Safaricom’s existing 100G backbone, thus increasing the capacity of network traffic carried between Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu. The end-to-end IP+optical 400G network will be built using Huawei’s backbone router and optical transport network (OTN) platform. The backbone router provides ultra-large capacity of up to 400GE per port, while the OTN with 400G technologies doubles the transmission capacity per fibre, reducing fibre rental costs on the backbone.

India’s Bharti Airtel has contracted Ciena to deploy a large-scale photonic control plane backbone network that will connect more than 4,000 towns across the nation. Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate to deploy a network spanning 130,000km. Airtel CTO Randeep Sekhon said the backbone architecture will be capable of working with data rates of 400Gbps and higher, and will support bandwidth on demand, optical VPNs, latency based routing and dynamic data centre interconnection.

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