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Asia-Africa-Europe-1 consortium taps Infinera to upgrade submarine cable net

Owner of one of the largest sub-sea cable consortiums in the world makes technical choice in upgrading network to increase capacity and diverse resilience

Open optical networking systems provider Infinera has announced that the Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) consortium, owner of one of the largest consortium cable systems in the world, has selected its ICE6 coherent 800G solution to increase its submarine network capacity and provide diverse, resilient connectivity across European, Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets.

Led by 19 leading comms operators, the AAE-1 cable system spans 25,000km of submarine and terrestrial networks, connecting 19 countries – Egypt, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.

Unlike any other cable system in the world, said the consortium, AAE-1 terminates at two points of presence in Singapore for enhanced route diversity and is claimed to be the only next-generation cable that extends further into Asia via diverse terrestrial routes across Thailand to provide connectivity to Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

This “unique” routing enables AAE-1 to deliver one of the lowest-latency routes between Hong Kong, India, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, it said. The cable system was initially designed with 100Gbps technology for a system capacity of more than 40Tbps on five fibre pairs.

AAE-1’s submarine upgrade is designed to more than double the current capacity, providing in excess of 100Tbps, resulting in the largest-scale submarine upgrade in history, said the consortium.

By upgrading with its fifth-generation ICE6 technology on the GX Series compact modular platform, Infinera says AAE-1 can take advantage of its submarine optical network solution that is said to feature the highest level of spectral efficiency, long-codeword probabilistic constellation shaping (LC-PCS), Nyquist subcarriers and the ability to “seamlessly” upgrade its line system to enable L-band transponders on some of its terrestrial network segments.

“AAE1 is a significant cable system,” said Giuseppe Sini, chairman of the AAE-1 management committee. “As international connections become increasingly important and capacity demand continues to rise, it is vital that we upgrade our system with the industry’s most innovative, advanced optical transmission technology. The deployment of Infinera’s ICE6 solution will mark a historic milestone as the largest submarine upgrade in history.”

Nick Walden, senior vice-president, worldwide sales at Infinera, added: “AAE-1’s deployment of Infinera’s ICE6 solution across its 25,000km network is a huge undertaking and accomplishment not many technology companies could achieve. Infinera is proud to deliver innovative solutions that offer seamless integration, scalable capacity, and value to network operators like AAE-1, and to help our customers deliver vital services to their customers with scale and efficiency.”

In 2020, Infinera’s submarine cable technology was selected by Orange to increase spectrum capacity on MainOne,  a next-generation, 7,000km submarine cable that connects Portugal, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria and serves as the West African backbone network for Orange’s international connectivity in Africa.

By deploying Infinera’s submarine solution, Orange said it was able to add capacity, scale as needed, and deploy services cost-effectively, resulting in improved and affordable services to its customers.

The connection was based on Infinera’s fourth-generation Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4) on the XTS-3600 platform, which the company said delivers the capacity and reach required for high-performance submarine cable spectrum. It also used the features of Infinera’s optical engine.

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