Home Page ContentPress Releases Infinera and SEACOM Achieve First Ever 500Gb/s Optical Network Trial in Africa Over a Distance of 1732 km

Infinera and SEACOM Achieve First Ever 500Gb/s Optical Network Trial in Africa Over a Distance of 1732 km

by david.nunes

Infinera and SEACOM Achieve First Ever 500Gb/s Optical Network Trial in Africa Over a Distance of 1732 km



Sunnyvale, CA – Aug. 1, 2011Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) announced today with SEACOM, a leading pan-African telecommunications provider, the successful trial completion of five 100 Gigabit per second (100Gb/s) coherent optical signals transmitted over 1732 km. Believed to be a first of its kind in Africa, the 500Gb/s trial ran over and was looped back across SEACOM’s newly built 930 km Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) fiber route which links the SEACOM Mtunzini cable landing station in KwaZulu Natal to the Teraco data center in Johannesburg.

The live demonstration today was witnessed by members of Africa’s scientific, research and development community at Teraco’s data center in Johannesburg. The trial used Infinera’s 500Gb/s Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), each which integrates 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, the first time the PICs have been used to transmit 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.

Infinera plans to deliver the 500Gb/s PICs as part of a system which 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 fiber infrastructure, this technology is designed to provide SEACOM’s land-based network in South Africa with a total capacity of over 8Tb/s per fiber, which is an effective 10 fold increase on its current capacity. This is in line and in support of SEACOM’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8Tb/s.


“The trial is a landmark achievement for SEACOM and Infinera because it demonstrates our 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,” said Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO.


Fiber optic transmission technologies have been developing considerably to satisfy demand for large-capacity digital transmission in public telecommunication networks worldwide. At the consumer level, the 500Gb/s PIC technology enables the download of 30 high-definition Blu-Ray™ movie files in 60 seconds, or supports the streaming of 4,000 simultaneous high definition video channels over a single optical channel.


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


“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,” said Tom Fallon, Infinera CEO. “These attributes are in-line with SEACOM’s vision to providing world-class infrastructure as African traffic continues to increase at record speeds.”



About Infinera

Infinera specializes in Digital Optical Networking systems that are designed to continually improve the economics of optical networking by combining the speed of optics with the simplicity of digital.  Infinera is unique in its use of breakthrough semiconductor technology: Large Scale Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC). Infinera’s systems leverage PIC technology to provide customers with a service-ready architecture that enables faster time-to-revenue and greater profitability through network efficiency and the ability to rapidly deliver differentiated services without reengineering their optical infrastructure. For more information, please visit http://www.infinera.com/.



SEACOM is a privately financed, developed and owned submarine fibre optic cable network bringing high quality, affordable broadband capacity to Africa through the sale of wholesale international bandwidth and associated services on an open-access basis since July 2009.


Stretching some 17,000km along the eastern and southern African coastlines and onwards to India and Europe, the SEACOM system has already connected many African countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Djibouti and Ethiopia bringing in many instances previously unavailable access to unrestricted bandwidth.


The SEACOM network offers bundled backhaul, open-access points of presence and global partnerships, to provide high quality, cost effective, end-to-end connectivity. Tiered pricing coupled with open access system integration solutions means that SEACOM has moved beyond the cable to become a major pan-African network with a full suite of IP services and unprecedented benefits for customers.


SEACOM believes in a world where the African Internet experience is interconnected and characterized by abundant local content, minimal latency as well as fast download and streaming speeds. This vision is at the heart of SEACOM’s commitment to Building the African Internet. www.seacom.mu







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