Southern Cross announces world’s longest single-span submarine 400GbE net

Supplier of international capacity to carriers and ISPs in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region launches Southern Cross NEXT cable, aiming to pave the way for of 400GbE services across a 15,840km network

Southern Cross Cables had announced the launch of its NEXT cable, along with the implementation and testing of 400GbE services across a 15,840km network between Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles, claiming a world first for the longest single-span 400GbE services yet achieved on a submarine cable network.

Consisting of three diverse submarine cable routes, more than 20 access points and over 43,000km, the Southern Cross ecosystem will support high-capacity and low-latency routes between Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tokelau, Kiribati, Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Southern Cross worked in collaboration with Ciena to commission and test the services error-free as part of the NEXT commissioning processes, paving the way for the introduction of 400GbE services between Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles. The cable will also support Southern Cross’s continuing mission to enable reliable connectivity between the people and communities of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to the rest of the world.

It will also provide the first international submarine fibre connections to Tokelau and Kiribati and reinforce Fiji’s growing role as a digital hub for the Pacific Islands.

The cable took just over two years to complete during the global pandemic and will become the third route in the Southern Cross network ecosystem between Australasia and the US. The NEXT system will boost the capacity of the ecosystem by about 500%, to around 100Tbps, effectively more than doubling Australia and New Zealand’s direct international connectivity capability to the US.

Southern Cross said that to put this into perspective, this would allow the transfer of the half-petabyte of data generated from the approximately 7,500 F1 2022 car wind-tunnel model tests in 111 seconds, or just over 300 seconds to transfer the estimated 10 billion photos on Facebook.

Southern Cross NEXT is based on the  Ciena GeoMesh Extreme, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e) coherent optical technology, to seamlessly mesh the new system into the current Southern Cross ecosystem network fabric. Ciena’s WL5e technology is also being deployed to help underpin Southern Cross’s sustainable upgrade path by reducing power costs and inefficiencies by more than 600% on a per-bit basis.

The new technology and capability are designed to support the rising demand for hyperscale bandwidth driven by cloud adoption and digitisation, along with changing needs of the company’s customers and the industry. “The Southern Cross NEXT cable system is up and running, and as part of our future strategy, not only is NEXT the first of the replacement cables for our existing systems when they retire in 2030, but it also completes a trifecta for us,” said Southern Cross Cable Network CEO Laurie Miller.

Ciena Australia and New Zealand managing director Matthew Vesperman added: “With end-user digital applications continuing to proliferate, cable operators like Southern Cross need adaptive networks that can tackle ever-growing capacity demands, yet remain reliable across long distances. As the first cable based on the open submarine cable model, the Southern Cross NEXT cable employs the latest advancements in submarine network performance and builds on the foundation of available real-time capabilities provided by Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme.”

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