Algeria-Europe undersea cable enters service


By Kurt Ruderman, KMI Corp

The 312km ALPAL-2 cable, linking Algiers to Palma on Spanish island of Mallorca, has entered service. Using DWDM, each of the four fibre pairs allows four wavelengths at 10Gbit/s, giving a maximum capacity of 160Gbit/s. Remote pumping for EDFAs eliminates underwater electronics, making it the Mediterranean's longest unrepeatered submarine cable, says France Telecom, which invested EUR4.1m in the EUR16.6m system.

ALPAL-2's consortium (Algeria Telecom, France Telecom, Telefoncia de España and Telecom Italia) contracted Pirelli to supply the system. This was to meet growing traffic demands and provide restoration for cables that land in Algiers. These include ALPAL-1 (an old 480-circuit analogue cable) and the 18,000km SEA-ME-WE2 cable linking France to Indonesia. In late 2001 it had to be shut down for repairs south of Sardaign, which required France Telecom to re-activate an old analogue system.

Also, Spain needed to boost its capacity from Algeria to Mallorca, which has become an important hub for Telefonica in the Mediterranean. Until now, its traffic to Algeria has been carried by ALPAL-1.

France, which has large Algerian community, also needed to increase its capacity to Algeria. ALPAL-2 links Algeria to France through Spain using France Telecom's European backbone network, and also from Barcelona to Marseilles via another submarine system called Barmar.

NetCologne multi-service network
To address increasing demand from cable customers in Germany, NetCologne is deploying Cisco's DOCSIS 1.1-qualified uBR746VXR Universal Broadband Router, 7500 Internet Routers and Catalyst 6000 switches, provided by Dimension Data Holdings, a global network integrator and approved Cisco partner.

Residential and business customers will be able to access a converged cable and high-speed IP network, giving three combined services - IP telephony, cable TV and high-speed Internet access with service-level guarantees - over its Hybrid Fibre Coaxial plant. The ability to launch multiple services over a single-cable IP network rather than multiple separate networks lowers operating cost and improves the ability to manage the quality of services.

NetCologne plans to implement Voice over IP over its cable network.

Gigabit Ethernet for London businesses
Telecoms infrastructure business 51° - which is developing a service to address the "bandwidth gap" faced by London companies - is to implement Cisco's Metro Ethernet Switching portfolio to deliver next-generation broadband scalable from 10Mbit/s to Gigabit Ethernet and beyond. 51° was set up by London Electricity Group (LE) which offers managed bandwidth, dark fibre and Ethernet services in the London area.

Combined with 51°'s fibre ring around London, access to LE's 30,000km of ducts will help in laying last-mile links to businesses and carriers for "Ethernet to the Building" via metro area networks.

With access to LE's 17,000 properties, 51° will co-locate Cisco's Catalyst 7600 platform as points of presence for its IP-based network for aggregation of Gigabit Ethernet, together with Cisco's 1031 Optical Network Termination device or Catalyst 3550 at customer sites.

Combining metro Ethernet and IP will provide resilience and a platform for services such as IP telephony, e-learning, IP video surveillance, and video broadcast.

SURFnet chooses EuroFiber MAN
Benelux-based EuroFiber has a contract through to 2015 to supply metro area networks to SURFnet, the Dutch network for higher education and research.

The fibre is used for a city ring in Rotterdam, which will connect the Ichthus Hogeschool's Delft site and the Nederlands Normalisatie Instituut (Dutch Normalisation Institute) on the cascade between Delft and Rotterdam. A cascade between Leiden and Amsterdam will connect Ichthus' Oegstgeest site (as well as scientific publisher Swets & Zeitlinger in Lisse).

"SURFnet intends to connect all its customers at gigabit level," says MD Boudewijn Nederkoorn. "The last-mile hop of the SURFnet network to the customer is often a problem. The fibre-optic rings supplied by EuroFiber provide a solution for five more customers and is a further step towards the full migration to fibre optics of the SURFnet network."

EuroFiber's Lars Alkema adds, "With the current developments in the telecom market it is important for a company to use its own fibre-optic network."

Installations in brief
Lucent Technologies has deployed its Softswitch, APX 8000 and MAX TNT Universal Gateways for the France and Spain subsidiaries of Milan-based pan-European Internet service provider Tiscali SpA. The programmable Softswitch is now carrying live network traffic. The APX 8000 and MAX TNT support voice, data and fax calls on a single DSP card to provide services on any port at any time.

Tiscali can deploy live voice over IP traffic on the Softswitch and introduce IP-based services to its residential and small and medium enterprise customers.

Nextra, the IP-based service provider subsidiary of Norway's Telenor, is the first Central European company to provide international telecom services on a packet-based network. This connects Prague, Frankfurt and Bratislava with an Alcatel-based Next Generation Network comprising the 5020 Softswitch VoIP application, media gateways and end-to-end network management solution, and will allow the provisioning of IP-based services and traditional voice services.

It will also be extended to other European countries in which Nextra is established (it has Internet companies in Austria, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, Russia, and the UK).

Alcatel is to deploy a transmission network - based on its 2.5Gbit/s SDH multi-service node systems - for Televorgu AS, a provider of broadband infrastructure and services in Estonia with an 1100km fibre backbone linking 26 different sites in major cities nationwide.

Televorgu was founded in April 2001 as a subsidiary of government-owned power utility Eesti Energia AS. Deployment will enable expansion from voice to broadband multimedia services to both business and residential users. The equipment provides advanced networking features in terms of network capacity, protection and manageability.

Telia is to supply an IP-VPN platform that will connect all the operating units (pharmacies, offices and certain co-operation partners) of Apoteket AB, Sweden,s nationalised pharmacy chain, in a single network via TeliaNet, Telia,s public network infrastructure. The agreement covers a three-year period.

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