1 August 2011

SEACOM uses Infinera’s PICs in first global 500GB/s network trial

Infinera Corp of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, a vertically integrated manufacturer of digital optical network systems incorporating its own indium phosphide-based photonic integrated circuits (PICs), has announced the first global 5x 100Gb/s optical transmission trial over a distance of 1732km.

The 500Gb/s trial was run over and looped back across SEACOM’s new 930km Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) route, which links the SEACOM Mtunzini cable landing station in KwaZulu Natal to the Teraco datacenter in Johannesburg, South Africa.

SEACOM is a privately financed, developed and owned submarine fibre-optic cable network bringing broadband capacity to Africa through the sale of wholesale bandwidth and associated services on an open-access basis. With initial construction starting in November 2007, SEACOM officially launched in July 2009. 

The live demonstration was witnessed by members of the scientific R&D community at Teraco’s datacentre in Johannesburg. The trial used Infinera’s 500Gb/s PICs, which each integrate five 100Gb/s coherent channels onto a single chip. The PICs were used for both transmitting and receiving the five 100Gb/s signals during the trial, which was the first time that PICs have been used to send and provide real-time coherent processing for all 500Gb/s simultaneously on a production network. The trial also demonstrated Infinera’s FlexCoherent functionality by switching between QPSK and BPSK modulation schemes.

Infinera plans to deliver the 500Gb/s PICs as part of a system that integrates 5 Terabit per second (Tb/s) OTN switching and 100Gb/s coherent optical transmission in early 2012. Enabling seamless upgrades from existing 10Gb/s networks without having to upgrade the underlying fibre infrastructure, the technology provides SEACOM’s land-based network in South Africa with a total capacity of more than 8Tb/s per fibre, which is an effective 10-fold increase on its current capacity, says Infinera. This is in line and in support of SEACOM’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to more than 4.8Tb/s.

“This event is a landmark achievement and a global first,” says SEACOM’s CEO Brian Herlihy. “It also signals the international science research and development community that global projects such as the Square Kilometre Array are well within Africa’s reach,” he adds. “The trial demonstrates SEACOM’s commitment to increase the pace at which African networks are deploying cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure technology to support Africa’s rise as a primary scientific and business destination.”

Fibre-optic transmission technologies have been developing considerably to satisfy demand for large-capacity digital transmission in public telecom networks worldwide, says Infinera. At the consumer level, the 500Gb/s PIC technology enables the download of 2400 high-definition Blu-Ray movie files in 60 seconds, or supports the streaming of 320,000 simultaneous high definition video channels over a single fibre pair.

At the network level, 100G systems based on PIC technology will have important implications for the economics of future networks. Infinera’s 500G PICs incorporate more than 600 optical functions on a pair of InP chips enabling cost-effective 100Gb/s coherent transmission as well as integrated OTN switching to deliver the digital optical network. These capabilities provide an effective means for network operators to scale network capacity while lowering operational costs, increasing reliability and providing for superior network economics, says the firm.

“With Internet traffic growing at exponential rates, driven by video, cloud computing and mobility, the 500G PIC technology is designed to support the required growth in network capacity, while reducing the per-bit cost, space, and power consumption,” says Infinera’s CEO Tom Fallon. “These attributes are in-line with SEACOM’s vision to providing world-class infrastructure as African traffic continues to increase at record speeds.”

Tags: Infinera InP PICs

Visit: www.infinera.com

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