Liquid Telecom deploys long-haul optical network in Africa with Ekinops

Liquid Telecom, a leading wholesale carrier in Africa, has chosen Ekinops SAS to supply next-generation optical transport equipment for its new long-haul DWDM network across South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The network features some of the longest uninterrupted fiber-optic cable spans in the continent, the companies say.

Liquid Telecom, a leading wholesale carrier in Africa, has chosen Ekinops SAS to supply next-generation optical transport equipment for its new long-haul DWDM network across South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The network features some of the longest uninterrupted fiber-optic cable spans in the continent, the companies say.

Liquid’s network expansion spans more than 2500 km and was built to accommodate the growing demand for bandwidth in the region as well as the need for an ultra-long-haul transmission network. The new network carries multiple 10G wavelengths and can scale to support many more 10G and 100G services. This will help bring the Internet to areas starving for reliable, high-speed access.

Liquid Telecom has built Africa’s largest fiber-optic network, which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town. In total, its pan-African fiber network spans more than 13,000 km across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, and South Africa. Liquid’s fiber network is the first to cross country borders and covers Africa’s fastest-growing economies, where no fixed network has existed before.

Liquid Telecom and Ekinops have been awarded at this year’s Global Telecoms Business Innovation awards the “Best Fixed Network Innovation” for their joint work in this project for building Africa’s longest single-span fiber links. They have successfully deployed spans that cover more than 310 km without inline amplifiers.

Typical long-haul fiber-optic networks require an optical amplifier site every 100 km to amplify the signal. In rural Africa, with its wide open spaces, where the distance between towns can be more than 400 km, this is a major challenge. The costs of building an amplifier site every 100 km – including the power generator, site security, and roads to access the site – are enormous.

This was the main challenge for Liquid Telecom and one of the key reasons it chose Ekinops, a company that specialize in long spans thanks to its DynaFEC dynamic forward error correction technology. With normal spans, the network would have required 16 amplification sites but thanks to the long spans, Liquid Telecom was able to reduce the number of spans to five.

Nic Rudnick, CEO of Liquid Telecom, said, “Congratulations to everyone who worked on this project, which has set the standard for the industry. We choose to build and own our fiber networks in Africa wherever possible, and we trust Ekinops to help us cross the massive distances found in this continent.”

For more information on DWDM equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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