Ciena supplies 40G coherent for Southern Cross network

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) has landed a major contract to upgrade the submarine network of Southern Cross Cables, owner of the trans-Pacific network that provides the main Internet artery between Australia, New Zealand, and the continental US.

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) has landed a major contract to upgrade the submarine network of Southern Cross Cables, owner of the trans-Pacific network that provides the main Internet artery between Australia, New Zealand, and the continental US.

To meet growing demand for high-bandwidth services and applications like video and cloud computing, Southern Cross Cables says it will upgrade its network from 10-Gbps to 40-Gbps channels on all of its network segments, including the longest one that spans 8,002 km. This will make it the world's longest span running coherent 40-Gbps technology, according to Ciena.

When it was originally planned back in 1998, the Southern Cross network was designed to provide 40 Gbps of protected capacity on each of three or four fibers in a cable. The upgrade will take lit capacity on each cable to 1 Tbps and total available capacity on the network to 2 Tbps.

Southern Cross will upgrade its network by installing Ciena 6500 packet-optical transport platforms equipped with 40G and 100G submarine-grade coherent line interfaces, which are designed to provide significantly greater capacity over ultra-long distances without disrupting existing customer traffic or adding cost and complexity to the network.

This is not a new contract; Ciena equipment powers existing 10-Gbps Southern Cross submarine systems. The operator has also previously installed Ciena's 40-Gbps coherent technology on some of its terrestrial links. However, to meet the distance requirements of the trans-Pacific, Southern Cross will deploy a different flavor of 40G coherent tailored for ultra-long-haul submarine spans (the modulation format was not specified, but could be DP-BPSK, a commonly used modulation format in coherent submarine systems).

The operator will also deploy Ciena's 5430 and 5410 Reconfigurable Switching Systems, which offer 3.6 Tbps and 1.2 Tbps of OTN-based switching for bandwidth aggregation and management. As well as automating operations and simplifying management via the intelligent control plane, Ciena asserts the 5400 platforms will enable Southern Cross to create a survivable mesh-enabled submarine network architecture, which will minimize the risk of network disruption, even under multi-failure conditions.

The final part of the upgrade package is Ciena's OneControl Unified Management System, which is used for end-to-end management across Layers 0 and 1 on both the 6500 and 5400 platforms.

The upgrade will enable Southern Cross to continue offering fast, direct, and secure international bandwidth from Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii to the continental United States, the company says. Ciena's technology also provides the base platform on which Southern Cross' can develop and monetize a new generation of products, such as 40 Gigabit Ethernet and OTN services.

Southern Cross hints that 40 Gbps isn't the extent of its ambition. "Southern Cross continues to invest and build ahead of subscriber demand to advance innovation and broadband growth," said Ross Pfeffer, director sales and marketing, Southern Cross. "This upgrade takes our network total capacity to 2 Tbps, but with Ciena's current technology our total capacity can quickly expand to at least 7.2 Tbps, highlighting our ability to support demand from Australia's NBN and New Zealand's UFB initiatives."

This deal is Ciena's second major 40G coherent submarine upgrade in Asia, the first being with Reliance Globalcomm (see "Reliance Globalcom adds 40-Gbps coherent to FNAL submarine cable network").

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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