Ciena enhances GeoMesh Extreme submarine cable technology

Ciena says it is unveiling enhancements to its GeoMesh Extreme submarine cable technology, enabling submarine cable operators to meet the increasing bandwidth demand that video-centric streaming, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and other future applications are creating.

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) says it is unveiling enhancements to its GeoMesh Extreme submarine cable technology,enabling submarine cable operators to meet the increasing bandwidth demand that video-centric streaming, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and other future applications are creating.

According to Ciena, its GeoMesh Extreme submarine cable technology now supports L-Band capabilities. It will operate on the L-Band wet plant system of TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity Ltd. (NYSE: TEL) company to provide almost twice the information-carrying capacity of a typical undersea cable.

Submarine optical fiber has a broader available spectrum range than what is presently used. While traditional submarine cables take advantage of the C-Band (~ 1530 nm to 1565 nm), TE SubCom's C+L technology doubles the available bandwidth and capacity per fiber pair over a traditionally designed C-Band-only system, says Ciena. With low cost per transported bit results, this capacity is valuable to cable operators. The cable itself remains a compact and low-cost design as a result of C+L's fiber bandwidth use, and of the subsequent limited number of fiber pairs that transmission capacity requires.

According to Ciena, its GeoMesh Extreme technology now opens up the L-Band (~ 1656 nm to 1625 nm) in the same optical fiber, and doubles the information amount operators can support on an individual submarine cable. This creates the potential for submarine cable operators to obtain twice the amount of revenue over a single cable, as compared to deploying two traditional cables, and produces advanced scale economies for an improved return on submarine network assets.

The same globally deployed technology that Ciena's C-Band SLTE uses is ported to the new L-Band SLTE to secure high-level performance. For several years Ciena has deployed in the L-Band over terrestrial networks and says it will leverage this expertise and field knowledge to ensure a straightforward migration into the L-Band over submarine networks.

In January of 2017, TE SubCom announced that its C+L optical transmission technology had reached the production stage (see "TE SubCom brings C+L optical transmission for submarine networks to production"). Later that year, TE SubCom announced that it had demonstrated a new transmission record of 70.4 Tbps capacity over 7,600 km by using its C+L technology.

Ciena's enhanced Blue Planet MCP technology enables submarine cable operators to manage the Ciena C/L-Band SLTE and TE SubCom C/L-Band wet plant from a single, unified management platform for an end-to-end open cable. Ciena acquired the Blue Planet software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) orchestration platform when it bought Cyan in 2015 (see "Ciena closes Cyan acquisition, begins integration" and "Ciena upgrades Blue Planet SDN/NFV orchestration platform").

TE SubCom and Ciena have previously partnered to support open submarine cable network approaches, enabling customers to more easily combine TE SubCom's wet plant designs and marine installation with Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical platform in 2016 (see "TE SubCom, Ciena target open submarine cable networks").

"Our partnership with TE SubCom has been critical in ensuring that customers can meet demand growth while delivering the highest level of performance," said Steve Alexander, Ciena's chief technology officer. "Leveraging L-Band, over and above the traditional C-Band, changes the economics of submarine network connectivity by providing unprecedented improvements in capacity, reliability, and simplicity."

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