SEACOM shows off 500Gbps fibre link in SA

SEACOM recently announced that they have invested R100 million in additional South African infrastructure to meet the continuous high growth in demand for broadband services and applications.

The investment includes the purchase of physical optical fibre links from Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) as well as installing the equipment required for SEACOM to manage the network linking KwaZulu Natal’s coast where the SEACOM marine cable lands to two redundant Points of Presence (PoPs) in Gauteng.

Initially, 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) of the fibre will be lit (using current 10Gbps technology) and a further 20 wavelenghts [hence 200Gbps] are expected to be lit within the next 12 months.

5x100G fibre technology demonstrated

SEACOM today demonstrated new 100Gbps per wave DWDM technology on their newly commissioned DFA link from Johannesburg to Mtunzini.

The demonstration used modern transmission technology with the ability to achieve speeds of 100Gbps per wavelength which gives the new link a design capacity of over 8 Terabits per second (Tbps). This is in line with SEACOM’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8Tbps.

In a world first for Infinera, SEACOM has simultaneously lit 5 wavelengths running at 100Gbps each. Light Reading previously reported that Infinera expected to announce their 5x100Gbps later this year (2011) and begin trials in the first quarter of 2012.

Suveer Ramdhani, SEACOM’s head of product strategy, explained that the equipment provided by Infinera for the demonstration was highly advanced and as they ramped up the trial from the originally planned 100G technology demo it simply didn’t fall over.

This technology is not available commercially yet, which means that SEACOM will continue to use the current 10Gbps per wavelength technology until it is necessary to upgrade to increase capacity.

Suveer Ramdhani
Suveer Ramdhani

However, the  demonstration illustrated that SEACOM is ready to boost capacity to multiple terabits per second if needed and showed what is possible with today’s technology innovations.

SEACOM said that this high capacity link will help them to align current and future customer needs with the explosion in broadband demand driven by a wave of content rich applications, such as cloud computing, to meet enterprise requirements, HD video streaming and IPTV services.

“This investment also supports SEACOM’s recently launched Internet Protocol (IP) platform that will drive the proliferation of content created in Africa and the regional hosting of international content,” SEACOM said in a press statement.

Ramdhani, SEACOM’s Head of Product Strategy, said: “This new capacity will benefit the end user by enabling SEACOM clients to bring new content rich products to market in a reliable and economical way.”

“The scale of the capacity we are making available on the route is yet another first in Africa and you can expect us to continue rolling out more ground-breaking technological developments in the near future.”

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SEACOM shows off 500Gbps fibre link in SA