Broadband undersea net for eastern Mediterranean


By: Edward Harroff, Geneva

With dark clouds over most European wholesale carrier transport, an exception is shining in the eastern Mediterranean. Mediterranean Nautilus Ltd offers intercity connectivity for Internet, voice and data, and hosting services in the area and continues to see an opportunity to provide broadband transport into a lucrative but mostly overlooked region that spans eastward from southern Italy to some key ports-of-call.

MedNautilus' ambitious project was the first DWDM network in the region, begun two years ago. Initially the MED Nautilus 1 (MN1) submarine and terrestrial network linked Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt at close to 4Tbit/s. Ultimately it will stretch about 7,000km.

Alcatel won the contract to build the network, comprising the full submarine system including, at each terminal station, network management and SDH terrestrial transmission interface equipment up to STM-16. It will provide a 6-fibre pair cable, offering 64 wavelengths at 10Gbit/s per fibre pair.

With a brutal drop in demand for carriers' carrier broadband services, other Mediterranean submarine projects have been scrapped. The only remaining broadband competitor is the Sea-Me-We 3 that links Asia, Indian Ocean, Djibouti, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Egypt (terrestrial only).

"Alcatel has performed smoothly in accordance with our three-phase network build", said Marc Verheecke, director Carrier Relations at MedNautilus. "This system, together with the Telecom Italia worldwide network, will permit MedNautilus to accomplish the goal of facilitating Internet explosion between the Eastern part of Mediterranean and all the main cities in Europe and in the Americas. Internet and other data has been the IP traffic bulk since the beginning of our transport operations."

On completing Phase 3 in Athens this summer, the self-healing ring network will link the following landing points: Catania and Mazara del Vallo (or Palermo, Italy), Alexandria (Egypt), Tel Aviv and Haifa (Israel), Yeroskipos (Cyprus), Istanbul (Turkey) thanks to a branch from Chania, Crete (Greece). The final build phase will enable STM-16 offerings and improved overall network redundancy.

Telecom Italia owns 51% of MedNautilus group, with remaining minority stakes divided among the Israeli partners Aurec, Clalcom, Globescom, and Kama.

Deutsche Telekom upgrades IP backbone
Deutsche Telekom has signed a frame agreement with Ericsson to integrate its AXI 580 and AXI 520 IP backbone routers, based on Juniper Networks' M-Series platform, as part of its Packet Backbone Network solution to extend its global IP network.

The new routers will allow Deutsche Telekom to boost the bandwidth of its backbone to provide superior quality, low latency and high availability for the services it delivers to its enterprise and consumer customers.

Ericsson will also provide installation, implementation, system support, spare-part management and professional services. Work started in October 2001.

"This development of the German network with our packet backbone portfolio will improve Deutsche Telekom's ability to deliver first class services to customers," says Karl Alsmar, President LM Ericsson International AB, Global Customer Unit Deutsche Telekom.

"Deutsche Telekom gains a scalable, secure and reliable global IP infrastructure," said Carl Showalter, VP of marketing, Juniper Networks. "This solution enables public and private IP services for Deutsche Telekom's growing customer base."

End-to-end Ethernet for Italian broadband
Private Italian service provider Acantho has ordered Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) technology from Cisco for its next-generation broadband network.

Acantho will deploy 100Mbit/s and 10Mbit/s broadband connectivity and services directly to business and residential customers via optical Ethernet. It says that the extra "headroom" in the broadband connection simplifies deployment of rich content and services.

Acantho, owned by a consortium of utility companies, provides end-to-end Ethernet right up "to the socket", with Cisco's Catalyst 4000 and 6500 switches in the metro network, together with 2600 and 1700 routers at or near the premises.

"With Ethernet, we offer the benefits of LAN-like services and quality beyond their office or home network," said Acantho's CTO Gaetano Morena.

Mainova chooses Marconi for DSL
German Metro carrier Mainova Telekommunikation, a subsidiary of energy supplier Mainova AG, is investing "several million euros" in using Marconi's Deep Fiber Distributed Multi-service Platform (DMP) to deliver high-speed data and voice services based on Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology for business customers.

DSL technology will enable the digital capacity of ordinary twisted copper phone lines into the home or office to be greatly increased. It is specifically suited for users where high speed in both directions is required and where "always on" data is a priority. Marconi will supply Optical Network Units (ONUs) as connection points between the subscriber copper line infrastructure and Mainova's fibre network. Marconi will install ONUs at 22 sites across the Frankfurt city region.

The modular architecture of the DMP will handle services ranging from analogue telephony to broadband DSL from one integrated platform. Deep Fiber DMP supports both TDM services such as voice or leased lines as well as broadband packet data services.

"Marconi is supporting Mainova in pioneering the introduction of always-on high-speed data services over SHDSL. Our Deep Fibre DMP platform is widely deployed with over forty customers in Germany alone," said Jürgen Beer, Managing Director of Marconi Communications GmbH.

  • Symmetric High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line gives symmetric transmission at up to 2.3Mbit/s both upstream and downstream over existing copper infrastructure, enabling data, voice and video to be transmitted over greater distances using multiple data rates.
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