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NO-UK submarine cable system claims record line rate

Submarine cable system between Norway and the UK claims milestone that will facilitate a new era of connectivity between the countries

In what is said to allow the undersea link between Norway and the UK to deliver its customers greater capacity, faster speeds and a greener offering through lower energy consumption, the NO-UK cable system has been found to have achieved a record-breaking 800Gbps line rate.

NO-UK Com is the consortium building the fibre cable between Norway and the UK, comprising Altibox Carrier as the operator, with Lyse, Haugaland Kraft, Eviny, Ryfylke IKS, Green Mountain, Polysys and Hatteland Group.

Announced in June 2021, NO-UK’s open submarine cable system, featuring eight fibre pairs, runs for 700km between Stavanger (Norway) and Newcastle (UK), and is said to offer the shortest low-latency direct submarine route between the two nations.

The marine installation was performed by Global Marine cable ship the Normand Clipper, and the repeaters have been manufactured by STI. The cable was provided by NSW.

NO-UK is part of a wider network of existing submarine and terrestrial (in-land) cables which will connect Newcastle with Norway, Ireland, mainland Europe and, ultimately, the US.

The system was developed by Altibox Carrier, which owns and operates fibre-optic cables, and supplied by Xtera, a turnkey provider of subsea systems. Its design utilises Xtera’s advanced repeaters and uses armoured and buried cable for the entire route. Project support is being provided by leading consultancy company SubSea Networks.

In the deployment, Altibox selected Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, using Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optical technology and 6500 Packet-Optical Platforms, supporting up to 35Tbps per fibre pair, said to be the highest capacity achieved to date across a repeater-based submarine network.

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The design and cable validation exercise was conducted according to the new International Telecoms Union submarine cable standard for open cables, known as ITU-T G.977.1.

“NO-UK has been developed to support the evolving requirements of businesses in Norway,” said Altibox Carrier director Svein Arild Ims.

“We wanted it to deliver the highest bandwidth and capacity available across a submarine network in a sustainable way, and Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, combined with Xtera’s unique wide-bandwidth and low-noise repeater design, has achieved exactly that. The network has exceeded our expectations in every way and sets the standard for future connectivity between Norway and the UK.

“Achieving 800Gbps line rate – another industry first,” added Ian Clarke, vice-president of global submarine solutions at Ciena.

“With more capacity and lower cost-per-bit, lower power consumption and lower ongoing operational costs, the service provides a modern and environmentally friendly network for Altibox’s NO-UK customers.”

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