Infinera Lights Some Facebook Fiber

March 31st, 2015 by · 8 Comments

Infinera revealed one of the highest profile non-telecommunications customers one could have this morning.  Their gear will be lighting some fiber for Facebook.  And by some, they mean "the world's longest terrestrial optical network route".

Facebook will be putting the DTN-X on a route spanning 3,998km over in Europe without regeneration.  That will give them some 8Tbps to work with, putting those 500Gbps super-channels to work.

Missing from the announcement was any detail on the actual route being deployed, although Facebook's European network was discussed.  Facebook's big data center is in Lulea, Sweden, and there are only so many directions one can go almost 4,000km from there without going subsea and reaching a market Facebook is likely to have acquired dark fiber to.

It's much further than that to go east across Asia toward Beijing, and much less to hit the major western European markets in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, or Paris.  4000km does, however, happen to be just about exactly the driving distance from Lulea, Sweden to Madrid, Spain.  That's my guess anyway.

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Categories: Fiber Networks · Telecom Equipment

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8 Comments So Far


  • Historically they have used the Teliasonera IC network in Europe. It is probably fiber leased from them, but I am not certain.

  • Anonymouse says:

    Historically, Facebook acquired fiber from TeliaSonera on a long term IRU and had TSIC deploy and run the Infinera DTNX gear on the dark fiber.

    Operating an optical network is largely a logistical exercise – having the people and spares located along the route to respond to problems 24×7 in < 2 hrs driving time.

  • mhammett says:

    So the speculation is Sweden to Madrid? Why would they do that? Doesn’t make sense? London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam make sense, but Madrid?

    • Rob Powell says:

      My thought was that they did those cities too of course, but this one happened to be the longest individual route and hence an opportunity for a PR. Otherwise, the mileage doesn’t work unless you’re going to Istanbul, and that would be a bit further off the page than Madrid.

      • mhammett says:

        Maybe they’ve got a big coil somewhere? A really ‘indirect” route? 😉

        That would make sense, but when I hear 4k km unregenerated, I assume a single span. If they’re stopping along the way… why not regenerate? It’s not like FB is HFT.

  • lisa says:

    Infinera is hot!

  • Anonymouse says:

    Why not regen? Because regen costs money, capex for cards and O&M for power/space to run them.

    4000 km will not be a single span of fibre.
    This is un-regenerated, but not un-amplified.

    That would have some 800dB of loss to overcome in 4000 km. It will be several spans of 80 to 100 km with optical amplifiers at buildings along the route.

    Also keep in mind that most networks have more than one path for redundancy. One path will take a direct route and may approximate driving directions, the other path may take a circuitous route through other cities to be physical separate from the first route. Route diversity.

    You can anticipate that an OTT player like Facebook, Microsoft or Google use significant capacity for inter-data-centre replication of data, perhaps even more capacity for replication than which goes to internet exchanges. Further that with its other data centers in the US, that large volume of capacity will be heading to Trans-Atlantic cable terminals – Paris and London.

    Luleå to London would be about 3,400 fiber route km and would likely pass Hamburg and Amsterdam.
    Luleå to Paris, physically diverse from the path to London, would have to take a different route across Germany to perhaps Frankfurt, and then Paris. For example, Lulea-Copenhagen-Munich-Frankfurt-Paris would be in the 3,900 km route km range.

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