Seacom claims world 1st with 500GB/s
Johannesburg - Cable operator and broadband services provider Seacom and US-based digital optical networking equipment supplier, Infinera, claimed a world first on Monday by successfully trialling five 100 Gigabit per second (100Gb/s) channels of coherent optical transmission over a distance of 1 732km.
The 500Gb/s trial was run over and looped back across Seacom's newly built 930km Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) fibre route which links the Seacom Mtunzini cable landing station in KwaZulu-Natal to the Teraco datacentre in Johannesburg.
The trial used Infinera's 500Gb/s Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), which each integrated 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 had been used to send and provide real time coherent processing for all 500Gb/s simultaneously on a production network.
"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 Infinera 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."
Infinera said it planned to deliver the 500Gb/s PICs as part of a system which integrated 5 Terabit per second (Tb/s) OTN switching and 100Gb/s coherent optical transmission in early 2012.
8 Tb/s per fibre
Enabling seamless upgrades from existing 10Gb/s networks without having to upgrade the underlying fibre infrastructure, this technology provided Seacom's land-based network in South Africa with a total capacity of over 8 Tb/s per fibre, which was an effective 10 fold increase on its current capacity.
This was in line with Seacom's plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8 Tb/s.
Seacom CEO Brian Herlihy said: "This event is a landmark achievement and a global first. 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.
"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."
At the consumer level, the 500Gb/s PIC technology would enable the download of 2 400 high-definition Blu-RayTM 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 would have important implications for the economics of future networks.