Southern Cross deploys 40Gb links in US

Australia-based Southern Cross Cables says it will deploy 40G wavelength technology from Nortel Networks to boost capacity on the US terrestrial optical link of its network as broadband traffic grows and internet content remains highly US-centric.

The Southern Cross network provides the major link for internet traffic from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to the US, as well as linking Hawaii to the US mainland.

The carrier has been implementing capacity upgrades in its submarine links since August 2007 using optical gear from Alcatel-Lucent. The first phase was completed in April after Southern Cross lit another 260 Gbps of capacity, bringing total installed capacity to 860 Gbps.

However, said Ross Pfeffer, sales and marketing director for Southern Cross, escalating demand for IPTV and high-def video in the Asia-Pacific required the carrier to boost its terrestrial links in the US because, contrary to expectations, the states remain the biggest source of web content.

'When we started, 80% of web content was hosted in the US, and the expectation was that this would shift as broadband proliferated in other markets, but today at least 75% of content is still hosted in the US,' Pfeffer said at Nortel press event.

Anthony Mclachlan, VP of Carrier Networks for Nortel Asia said the company's dual polarization quadrature phase shift keying (DP-QPSK) technology allows Southern Cross to boost its terrestrial wavelength capacity from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps over its existing optical infrastructure with a simple card upgrade.

He added the same platform will allow future upgrades to 100 Gbps, although commercialization of 100G optical from any vendor isn't expected to happen until late 2009 at the earliest.

Still, that may fit into Southern Cross' timeframe, said Pfeffer.

'I anticipate it will be no more than two years until the next upgrade comes up for consideration,' he said.

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