While it may sound sexy for the world’s network traffic to traverse via satellite, most of the data actually travels along submarine networks that lie on the ocean floor and act as the backbone of the web. Laying and maintaining many of these networks is Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), a world networking leader with more than 150 years of providing turnkey submarine network solutions, who has been busy upgrading the infrastructure that makes the global internet function.
The company, in conjunction with Latin American wireless provider América Móvil, is at work on the world’s first 17,500km submarine cable system specifically designed for 100Gigabit per second (100G) transmission. It spans from the US to Central America and Brazil, and enabled América Móvil to provide international connectivity to all its subsidiaries.
It is upgrading the MAYA-1 submarine cable system, which spans 4,400km distance in a collapsed ring from Hollywood, Florida, US, to Tolu in Colombia, in the process quadrupling the activated data capacity to address growing demand for bandwidth-intensive services and the Caribbean as a critical hub for communications between North and South America.
Alcatel-Lucent is carrying out a major upgrade of a 9,600km trans-Pacific digital submarine cable system using advanced coherent technology that provides direct connectivity from the Japanese east coast to California and will increase system capacity by 1 Terabit/s.
The company also is working with Main One Cable Company’s submarine cable system connecting Portugal to Nigeria over 7,000 km and contributing to enhance overall African and international connectivity, and working with a group of telecommunications operators consisting of Cable & Wireless (News - Alert) Communications, Setar, Telconet, Telefónica a Global Solutions and United Telecommunication Services to deploy the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS), a 100G submarine cable system linking Jacksonville, Florida to Manta, Ecuador.
This is in addition to Alcatel-Lucent’s foray into submarine networks for the oil and gas industry, which it ramped up recently with a submarine networks project in Asia connecting eleven fixed platforms several hundred kilometers off the coast at water depths of more than a hundred meters.
As Patricia Boulanger, Head of Research, Development and Industrialization at Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (Calais, France) noted in a recent blog posting on the subject of submarine cabling for the oil and gas industries, “Oil and gas exploration and recovery are rapidly advancing into challenging geographic areas,” noted the blog. “To date, communications to and from the platforms have generally been via microwave or satellite which are limited by distance and not always reliable in bad weather conditions. Oil and gas companies are now starting to see the advantages of using subsea fiber-optic technology, which delivers high quality, high reliability and low latency communication systems.”
The Asian oil and gas project was challenging, but the expertise Alcatel-Lucent brings to bear on submarine networks helped the company complete the project in just 8 months, a full third of the time that such projects usually take, the blog reported.
“Our strict submarine procedures were reinforced with specific requirements demanded by the sector. For this project the subsea cable had to cross 25 pipelines, so concrete ‘mattresses’ were laid on top of the cable for protection at these areas. Also, bringing a ship to lay cable in close proximity to a gas platform had to be very tightly controlled,” the blog noted.
Edited by Peter Bernstein