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Thursday, 27 October 2011 13:53

Australia's Internet pipe to the US is about to get fatter


The bandwidth of one of Australia's principal Internet pipes to the US, the Southern Cross Cable, will receive a significant boost next year when its 10Gbps per wavelength technology is upgraded to 40Gbps.

Southern Cross Cable has named Ciena as the vendor of choice for the upgrade, plans for which were announced earlier this year.

Southern Cross CEO, Fiona Beck, said: "The'¦upgrade using Ciena's 40G coherent optical technologies will increase lit capacity across our network to 2Tbps by Q2 2012, and represents an increase in current potential capacity to over 7.2Tbs, between Australia/New Zealand and the USA."

"Southern Cross Cables will increase capacity on all of its network segments between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, including one that spans more than 8,000 kilometre, with Ciena's '¦40G+ coherent optical solutions," the company said.

According to its web site "Southern Cross is currently delivering 295Gbps of fully protected [ie an alternative route available for all traffic should one segment fail)] bandwidth and has the potential as demand growth requires to increase to 1.2Tbps using the existing 10Gbps technology or 4.8Tbps using 40 Gbps."

Beck added: "Retail broadband data caps continue to expand dramatically on the back of current international capacity prices in both Australia and New Zealand. Demand is now growing at around 35 percent to 40 percent annually with estimates of total international bandwidth usage out of Australia and New Zealand now at 620Gbps.

"The current upgrade puts Southern Cross in a strong position to stay well ahead of total demand growth and to support growth uplifts from both the NBN and UFB [New Zealand's Ultra Fast Broadband] initiatives."

She added: "Southern Cross Cable will also enhance its network's survivability, efficiency, and intelligence with advanced bandwidth management and operations afforded by Ciena's multi-protocol switching platform to future proof the network."


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The upgrade will add 400Gbps to each of Southern Cross' seven segments, taking lit capacity on each cable to 1Tbps and total capacity on the network to 2Tbps. Southern Cross will also use Ciena's 5430 and 5410 Reconfigurable Switching Systems, which offer 3.6Tbps and 1.2 Tbps of switching capacity for bandwidth aggregation and management.

Southern Cross vice president networks, Dean Veverka, explained: "The 54xx series Ciena platforms will allow us to create a mesh-enabled submarine network architecture, to continue to reduce the risk of natural and manmade network disruptions, even under multi-failure conditions ... a key feature of the Southern Cross network and of primary importance to us and our customers."

He added: "Southern Cross undertook extensive testing of potential supplier equipment prior to the tender process, and was impressed by the capability of both the Ciena equipment and its support team."

When plans for the upgrade were announced in June the company said it had also trialled 100Gbps technology and indicated that it would upgrade further to 100Gbps per wavelength in 2015.

Sales and marketing director, Ross Pfeffer, said: "It is very pleasing to see 100Gbps equipment operating some two years earlier than previously expected'¦It is going to be an option much sooner than we previously thought and the potential size of our network will keep growing in huge leaps."

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