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US, Africa connectivity put to the test

By , ITWeb
Africa , 20 Jan 2020

US, Africa connectivity put to the test

The first direct optical connection between the USA and Africa has been tested using the trans-Atlantic SACS cable.

A statement released by Angola Cables and Nokia explains that Nokia's Photonic Service Engine 3 (PSE-3) chipset was tested to facilitate the connectivity, which, according to the companies, "provides direct, low-latency routing and greatly simplifies the turn-up of services to better serve rapidly growing data consumption markets in Africa."

SACS, owned and managed by Angola Cables, operates between Fortaleza, Brazil and Luanda, Angola and is connected to the AngoNAP Data Centre. The consortium-owned MONET connects Santos / Fortaleza in Brazil with Florida in the USA.

According to the companies, subsea fibre-optic cables form the backbone of the global internet, connecting countries and continents across vast trans-oceanic distances.

"The new services leverage the interconnection of two existing subsea cable systems – SACS (South Atlantic Cable System) and MONET. Combining SACS and MONET subsea systems in this joint trial allows for 300 Gbps of traffic between Miami and Luanda," they state, adding that the test bolsters capacity to an already low latency network.

"Lower latency network connections improve performance and user experience in applications such as cloud computing and content consumption," the statement continues.

The companies quote statistics from the ITU which claim that Sub-Saharan Africa has recorded the highest growth in internet use globally over the past decade, from under 10% of the population in 2010, to over 28% in 2019. Enhanced subsea connectivity is crucial for access to global content and services of this growing user base.

The subsea wavelengths were deployed with Nokia's 1830 Photonic Service Interconnect (PSI) data centre interconnect (DCI) platform utilising the PSE-3. The 1830 PSI provisioned optical wavelengths at 300 gigabits per second using probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) to optimally shape the signals to the specific characteristics of the 12,635 km cable, achieving operation near the theoretical limits of the system.

Fernando Azevedo, Technical Director at Angola Cables, said: "With Nokia's PSE-3, Angola Cables can optically interconnect the MONET and SACS submarine fibre optic cables, enabling more capacity and a further reduction in latency between content providers in North America and the rapidly growing data consumption markets in Africa."

Sam Bucci, Head of Optical Networking at Nokia, said: "Africa is a strategic growth market for Nokia across both our core CSP and webscale businesses."

In November 2019, Angola Cables and Nokia confirmed the fibre-optic routing between Angola and Miami was available for commercial use.

At the time the field trial leveraged Nokia's 1830 Photonic Service Switch wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) platform. Powered by the Photonic Service Engine coherent digital signal processor, the 1830 PSS successfully transmitted optical wavelengths over 12,635 km directly from Angola to Florida, reducing latency by 30% compared to existing routes.

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