Alcatel Submarine Networks pairs with Facebook on aluminium conductor submarine network cables

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) says it now offers aluminium conductor cable for submarine networks. The company says it paired with Facebook on the new conductor cable technology, including the successful completion of a testing and qualification program. The use of aluminium is more cost-effective than the copper typically used in repeatered subsea networks while delivering equal performance, says ASN. The approach provides other benefits as well, the company adds.

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) says it now offers aluminium conductor cable for submarine networks. The company says it paired with Facebook on the new conductor cable technology, including the successful completion of a testing and qualification program. The use of aluminium is more cost-effective than the copper typically used in repeatered subsea networks while delivering equal performance, says ASN. The approach provides other benefits as well, the company adds.

The aluminium conductor approach has passed mechanical, electrical, optical, and environmental tests performed on deep sea and armored cables, including validation via a sea trial. “Our efforts are focused on expanding connectivity and increasing the adoption of innovative technologies, without compromising reliability,” explained Najam Ahmad, vice president, network engineering at Facebook. “The use of aluminum cable in submarine systems represents an attractive evolution as technology advances and demand increases for more data throughput and higher speeds.”

Besides being less expensive as a raw material than copper, aluminium enjoys a more stable supply environment, according to ASN. Its use in the oil and gas industry has led to improvements in production, including the ability to be processed and welded for long distance applications. It also has the potential to become faster to produce and enable cable designs with low direct current resistance (DCR) and a higher number of fiber pairs, ASN adds.

“The introduction of a new cable variant using aluminium conductor addresses the market demand for more cable capacity at a reasonable cost, while keeping the same level of quality and reliability,” stated Philippe Piron, president and CEO of ASN. “After the introduction of loose tube technology in submarine cables 25 years ago, ASN is again the first to bring an innovative improvement to submarine cable design and continues to show its leadership by anticipating customer demands.”

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