African cable link gets capacity upgrade

A major submarine cable network across the Southern and Eastern African coastlines is receiving a substantial overhaul. The service provider Seacom is upgrading its network with network specialist Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and OneControl Unified Management System, in line with its focus on driving the development of the African internet and opening the broadband tap for African consumers.

The technology will allow Seacom to meet the growing capacity demands of its customers and enable affordable Internet access to East Africa with a network that offers a better cost point and a smoother evolution path for the future.

The upgrade includes key countries in the 17,000km undersea network, including India, Egypt, Dijbouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa. The solution will allow capacity to be delivered in very short timeframes and provide for future demands. The deployment will initially use Ciena’s 40G coherent transport technology, with ultra-long distance 100G wavelengths planned for future upgrades.

“Connectivity services in Africa are booming due to the growing needs of business IT users, the rise of cloud-based services, and growing requirements for the processing and storing of personal data,” said Claes Segelberg, chief technology officer at Seacom. “This upgrade will enable us to cost-effectively scale our capacity to address this growing demand for connectivity throughout the continent.”

Ed McCormack, vice president and general manager of submarine systems at Ciena, added: “In the last couple of years, bandwidth penetration in several African countries has increased tenfold with the support of Seacom’s submarine network. Our technology will lay the foundations for a unified terrestrial and submarine network and evolution path to a GeoMesh network architecture.”

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