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Seacom achieves global first with 500GB/s network trial

Seacom and Infinera Corp (NASDAQ: INFN), a leading US-based digital optical networking equipment supplier, today announced that they had achieved a global first by successfully trialling five 100 Gigabit per second (100 Gb/s) channels of coherent optical transmission over a distance of 1732 kilometres. The 500Gb/s trial was run over and looped back across SEACOM’s newly built 930 kilometre Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) fibre route which links the SEACOM Mtunzini cable landing station in KwaZulu Natal to the Teraco datacentre in Johannesburg.

The live demonstration, news of which has generated huge excitement in the industry, was witnessed by members of the scientific, research and development community at Teraco’s datacentre in Johannesburg. The trial used Infinera’s 500 Gb/s Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), each which integrates five 100 Gb/s coherent channels onto a single chip. The PICs were used for both transmitting and receiving the five 100 Gb/s signals during the trial, the first time the PICs have been used to send and provide real time coherent processing for all 500 Gb/s simultaneously on a production network. The trial also demonstrated Infinera’s FlexCoherent functionality by switching between QPSK and BPSK modulation.

Infinera plans to deliver the 500Gb/s PICs as part of a system which integrates 5 Terabit per second (Tb/s) OTN switching and 100Gb/s coherent optical transmission in early 2012. Enabling seamless upgrades from existing 10Gb/s networks without having to upgrade the underlying fibre infrastructure, this technology provides SEACOM’s land-based network in South Africa with a total capacity of over 8 Tb/s per fibre, which is an effective 10 fold increase on its current capacity. This is in line and in support of SEACOM’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8 Tb/s.

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