GBI taps Nokia to enhances optical network capacity between Middle East and Europe

Cloud, connectivity and content enabler undertakes optical network capacity upgrade between key markets to scale wavelength speed by a factor of x4 to offer high-speed connectivity across subsea cable and terrestrial network links

With the FIFA World Cup in Qatar just weeks away, Middle East-based global cloud, connectivity and content enabler Gulf Bridge International (GBI) has upgraded its optical networking assets by implementing Nokia Photonic Service Engine V (PSE-V) coherent technology to provide capacity upgrades to its existing subsea cables and terrestrial links spanning two seas and three countries, to meet customer demand for additional bandwidth between the Middle East and Europe.

Founded in 2008, GBI operates a smart and fully managed network and its multilayer terrestrial and subsea cable meshed network bridges the East to the West through the Middle East, and is designed to connect businesses and societies and contribute to the region’s accelerated digital transformation. It offers capacity and a portfolio of wholesale and enterprise services, with the company regarding its value propositions and diverse offerings as serving as a catalyst to growth, innovation and contributing to economic development within the region and beyond.

With the upgrade, GBI will increase international network capacity ahead of the World Cup to enable high-speed connectivity between Doha, Qatar and Milan, Italy and will upgrade its Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) optical transport platforms with new network interface cards powered by the PSE-V digital signal processors. This will enable an upgrade to wavelength connections from 50Gbps to 200Gbps over GBI’s existing end-to-end subsea cable and terrestrial links spanning thousands of kilometres and will allow the introduction of 400Gbps services in the future.

The system is designed to maximise the capacity of two existing subsea cable links by greatly improving the optical spectrum efficiency through advanced techniques such as continuous baud rate adjustment. It also eliminates regeneration of the optical signal over two long-haul terrestrial links. Removing the need to convert between optical and electrical signals to boost the optical signal at intermediate regeneration points increases network efficiency and reduces latency and cost.

“We selected Nokia because its proven PSE technology will enable us to grow the capacity of our subsea cables and terrestrial networks efficiently and cost-effectively,” said GBI chief technical officer Gavin Rea. “We will be able to meet our customers’ increasing demand for the best connectivity services between the Middle East and Europe while ensuring that we can increase speed and capacity in the future.

“These routes are critical to our international carrier-grade fibre-optic Smart Network, which connects service provider, cloud provider and enterprise customers to important financial and communications hubs across the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.”

Manuel Ortiz Fernandez, senior vice-president of EMEA webscale business at Nokia, added: “There is a growing need for wholesale services that provide higher speed, reliable connectivity between cloud datacentres, colocation facilities and interconnection hubs in the Middle East and Europe. We are delighted that GBI has selected Nokia to upgrade important routes of its Smart Network. GBI’s customers will benefit from the scale, reliability and efficiency of our optical solution, while GBI will be able to increase network capacity while reducing network operations costs.”

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