SEACOM trials 100Gbps in Africa

02 August 2011 |


The African cable consortium SEACOM has completed trials of five 100Gbps channels of coherent optical transmission over 1732km.

The trial was conducted over Seacom’s new 930km Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) route, which links the Mtunzini cable landing station in KwaZulu Natal to the Teraco data centre in Johannesburg, and used Infinera’s Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). Demonstrated live in front of members from the scientific and R&D community, the trial claims to be the first time PICs have been used to send and provide real-time processing for all 500Gbps simultaneously on a production network.

SEACOM CEO Brian Herlihy labelled the trial a “landmark achievement”.

“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,” he said.

The success of the trial will help SEACOM in its plans to upgrade its existing 10Gbps networks without having to upgrade the underlying fibre infrastructure. By utilising Infinera’s PICs, the consortium hopes to eventually offer a total capacity of over 8Tbps per fibre; 10 times more than its existing capacity. The development also supports SEACOM’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8Tbps.

Many upgrades have been made to relatively new cable systems in Africa over recent months as operators try to keep pace with the unexpected high demand for data across the continent. At the start of the year, Capacity produced a full analysis of the developments to Africa’s connectivity (click here).