Canalink Field Test: Scaling Capacity While Protecting the Investments of Subsea Operators

May 16, 2017

By Abhi Chitambar
Principal Product and Technical Marketing Manager


Infinera recently concluded a successful field test with Canalink across the subsea network operator’s 1,393 kilometer (km) subsea cable between the Conil landing point on the Spanish mainland and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. This test was conducted across three fully loaded channel plans at 25 gigahertz (GHz), 37.5 GHz and 50 Ghz channel spacing with the new Infinera Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4). The test validated advanced compensation techniques and new modulation schemes such as 8QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), demonstrating the capability to upgrade the cable capacity 13-fold. This test underscores the breadth of applications addressed by ICE4 – from subsea to the cloud. It highlights Infinera’s commitment to bringing advanced capabilities to the subsea market and confirms the benefits of Nyquist subcarriers and SD-FEC gain sharing, enabling subsea cables to move to higher-order modulation formats for increased fiber capacity and to potentially generate greater return on the asset.

Back in January 2016 at Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC’16), Infinera announced the Advanced Coherent Toolkit (ACT) for super-channels and showcased how this new technology covered the Telstra Endeavour subsea cable stretching 9,000 km between Sydney, Australia and Oahu, Hawaii. This test demonstrated how Infinera’s advanced coherent technologies helped extract the maximum capacity from subsea and long-haul terrestrial cable systems carrying super-channels – whether for new large area fibers or existing cables. The test with Telstra validated the benefits of Nyquist subcarriers, which have been shown in other studies to offer approximately 20 percent increased reach compared to single-carrier transmission. In addition, the test validated soft-decision forward error correction (SD-FEC) gain sharing, in which carriers with the highest performance can be paired with carriers with lower optical signal to noise ratio (OSNR) to improve performance. Other capabilities demonstrated as part of this test included a new modulation technique, matrix-enhanced phase-shift keying (ME-PSK), which handily surpasses binary phase-shift keying (BPSK) reach performance, as well as the new, high-gain SD-FEC algorithm.

We followed this up at PTC’17, where we announced new ICE4 platforms within the DTN-X Family to power cloud scale subsea networks. Infinera’s new solutions for subsea network operators include:

  • DTN-X XTS-3300 and XTS-3600 meshponders: Compact 1 rack unit (1RU) and 4RU plug-and-play subsea platforms integrating the groundbreaking performance of ICE with ACT for enhanced capacity and reach. The industry’s first meshponders combine up to 2.4 terabits per second (Tb/s) super-channels with sliceable photonics and in-flight line-rate Layer 1 encryption in a compact and low-power form factor. They support Infinera’s unique Instant Network and Instant Bandwidth capabilities, providing rapid bandwidth management and service provisioning for success-based growth.
  • DTN-X XTC Series upgrade: The Infinera DTN-X XTC-4 and XTC-10 have been upgraded with subsea-optimized and Instant Bandwidth-enabled 1.2 Tb/s line modules. The XTC-4 and XTC-10 platforms now have more than twice the switching and transmission capacity, enabling up to 12 Tb/s of non-blocking OTN switching via non-disruptive in-service upgrades. The new line modules coexist with previously deployed modules, thereby protecting prior investments in DTN-X platforms. The DTN-X XTC Series offers ODU0-level switching granularity, and unlike competitive systems, has no tradeoffs between client-side tributary capacity and line-side capacity.
  • New subsea software tools: Dynamic spectral sharing enhances Infinera’s open architecture, allowing subsea operators to partition and monetize valuable fiber spectrum so that it can be securely shared with multiple tenants, independent of both cable and submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE) suppliers. Mission-critical subsea link performance data is available in real time, on demand, via open software-defined network application programming interfaces (APIs). This enables subsea operators to monitor transmission health as well as identify opportunities for capacity adjustments. In addition to these new tools, Infinera’s Time-based Instant Bandwidth solution enables operators to rapidly activate network capacity for a defined duration. Now operators can closely match end user traffic patterns to address bursty service demands from customers, match bandwidth to revenue, and instantly reroute bandwidth in the case of network disruptions.

Transforming Subsea Networks to Cloud Scale

Trans-Atlantic network bandwidth is forecast to grow at 40 percent annually through 2025, with the majority of this traffic shifting to private networks, according to Telegeography. This private traffic is dominated by N x 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s) elephant flows traveling between the data centers of internet content providers (ICPs) as they move content around the globe. Subsea operators such as Canalink need to maximize the fiber capacity of their cable plants and simultaneously optimize their networks to efficiently handle these 100 Gb/s flows and support smooth scale-out of capacity. With 13 times more capacity than what Canalink had initially estimated, Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine delivers innovative technologies designed for subsea operators to protect their investment and maximize the use of their infrastructure.

For more information on Infinera’s subsea solutions, please contact us.

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