Virgin Media deploys Nortel 40G submarine system for Irish undersea link

SEPTEMBER 14, 2009 -- The 40-Gbps submarine enhancement follows Nortel's deployment of 40-Gbps technology in Virgin Media's network and will support the roll-out of superfast broadband services across the UK.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2009 -- Virgin Media, a UK entertainment and communications company, has enhanced the capacity in its existing submarine cable link between the UK mainland and Ireland using a next-generation optical system from Nortel.

The 40-Gbps submarine enhancement follows Nortel's deployment of 40-Gbps technology in Virgin Media's network and will support the roll-out of superfast broadband services across the UK. The terrestrial and submarine portions of the network have been upgraded to quadruple network capacity with minimal disruption.

Virgin Media operates a north and south fiber-optic cable between the UK and Ireland underneath the Irish Sea. This cable already carries 10-Gbps channels. The upgraded terrestrial and undersea cable network links Lytham St. Annes on the west coast of the UK to Dublin and covers approximately 238 km.

The system upgrade extends the life of Virgin Media's cable infrastructure investment, as well as providing additional bandwidth. It also provides Virgin Media a potential future migration path to upgrade its submarine link to 100 Gbps to accommodate the growing popularity and take-up of multimedia services.

"The Nortel 40G Adaptive Optical Engine solution enables the upgrade of existing optical networks without the need for extensive network re-engineering or massive recabling costs," says Peter Newcombe, leader of Metro Ethernet Networks Sales, Nortel, EMEA. "This was important on the Virgin Media project because their link is 238 km long and most of it is undersea. It's also an advantage on the busy undersea routes to Ireland."

The upgraded network spans the terrestrial and submarine distances and can carry up to 12x40-Gbps wavelengths, providing up to 480 Gbps of capacity over a fiber loss up to 58 dB in this deployment over the unrepeatered wet plant. Unrepeatered submarine technologies provide significant capital and operating savings and are also a cost-effective alternative to terrestrial builds in coastal regions.

The end-to-end unrepeatered submarine system was delivered by Nortel in conjunction with partner MPB Communications, which provided the high-power Raman amplification equipment needed to achieve network reach without undersea repeaters. The Nortel 40-Gbps Adaptive Optical Engine includes simple plug-in interfaces for Nortel's flagship Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 converged packet optical platform.


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