Infinera In Transatlantic Deployment

May 8th, 2010 by · 4 Comments

DWDM specialist Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) announced on Friday that its submarine solutions have been deployed on a 6000+ km transatlantic route for a major global telecommunications provider.  In all, the deployment offers 1.76Tbps over a single fiber pair.  Infinera’s gear uses a 25Ghz channel grid, whereas other deployments use a 50Ghz grid.  That allows them to fit more 10Gbps wavelengths onto a single fiber.  Infinera has seen pretty good success in the submarine market given that they entered it less than a year ago.  The provider itself is unnamed but we can take a stab at it via the process of elimination.  

C&W’s Apollo, Tata, and Reliance aren’t in need of such an upgrade right now as far as I know, and Hibernia doesn’t fit the profile.  TAT-14 is a consortium and doesn’t seem to fit.  That leaves perhaps Global Crossing’s AC-2 and Level 3’s Yellow, which are actually two halves of the same system.  Both have been upgraded incrementally over the past few years, and both companies have to balance traffic growth, their own cables, and buying transatlantic capacity from rivals.  The Infinera solution seems like it would appeal to either.  But it is Level 3 that unexpectedly surged as Infinera’s top customer last quarter despite rumors they lost some of their terrestrial business with the carrier to Huawei.  Additionall, Level 3 tends not to talk about upgrades to their submarine capacity in much detail whereas Global Crossing does and, well, hasn’t in this case so far.  So one leg of Level 3’s Yellow cable system (6400km) would be my educated guess, though it’s certainly not definitive.

There has still been no world on new transatlantic cables being laid any time soon, unlike in the Pacific and around Africa where the cable laying business is booming.  Instead we will see more upgrades like this, designed to squeeze every last drop of capacity out of existing infrastructure until the economics will support new cables.  I do wonder though if the surge of interest in low latency connectivity might prompt someone to design a new route that cuts off a few hundred kilometers somehow.

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Categories: Telecom Equipment · Undersea cables

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4 Comments So Far

  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    Hi Rob. Another of yesterday’s press releases from Infinera (at ) leaves open a few other possibilities to consider. As for latency, throughout my reading of your astute analysis I could not help but recall the recent adjustment that Infinera announced it would make on its NY-CHI route, for the purpose of shaving delay from that route, and how such might play in the subsea LH/ULH space.


  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    ps – while we’re talking deep water, I thought I’d pass this PCCW Global Infrastructure route map (tinyURL below), since its among the better ones that I’ve seen publicly displayed on the Web:

    The engineer who sent this to my forum noted, “The old site had a 20MB map that was PDF optimized at 12MB. I guess they sell that version now.”


  • anonymous says:

    There was a paragraph on Level 3’s Annual Report (online html version) (bottom pg 13-top pg 14) titled “Transoceanic Networks” that said they plan on upgrading Yellow (to 1.8 Tbps) in the 1st half of 2010. Not sure if that was the same item?

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