South Africa-based undersea cable company Seacom and
US-based digital optical networking equipment supplier Infinera have achieved a
global first by successfully trialling a 500 Gigabits per second transmission
over Seacom’s newly built network between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“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,” said Brian Herlihy, CEO of Seacom.
The trial made use of five 100 Gigabit per second (100
Gb/s) channels of coherent optical transmission over a distance of 1732
The trial was run over and looped back across Seacom’s
newly built 930-kilometre Dark Fibre Africa fibre route, which links the Seacom
Mtunzini cable landing station on the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal
province to the Teraco data centre in Johannesburg.
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.
The trial used Infinera’s 500 Gb/s Photonic Integrated
Circuits (PICs), each of which integrates five 100 Gb/s coherent channels onto
a single chip. The PICs were used for both transmitting and receiving the five
100 Gb/s signals during the trial.
At the consumer level, the 500Gb/s PIC technology enables
the download of 2 400 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.
Fibre optic transmission technologies have been
developing considerably to satisfy demand for large-capacity digital
transmission in public telecommunication networks worldwide.
“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, CEO of
By Telecomlead.com Team