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International connections

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 04 October 2018, 8:14 pm

A map of international telecommunication cables across the globe shows a disparity between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. News service ZDNet lists only 17 subsea cables across the globe and while not an exhaustive list, it does mention the Southern Cross and newly completed Hawaiki Cable.

The point is - there are not as many subsea internet cables lying beneath the world's oceans as you might expect.

So, it's welcome news that the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) has just been completed by NEC. Funded by Angola Cables, it connects Luanda, Angola to Fortaleza, Brazil. Inside the Fortaleza-based datacentre SACS connects to a cable system between Brazil and the USA. Among the most interesting points is that this is apparently the first trans-Atlantic link between Africa and the Americas. Previously traffic was routed through Europe.

For the telco geeks, the SACS is designed with 100Gbps coherent WDM technology with an end-to-end solution. It has four fibre pairs that offer a design capacity of a 40Tbit/s in total between Fortaleza, Brazil and Luanda, Angola. What this means in practice is that the cable will provide data speeds that are five times faster and improve latency by 60% between Africa and the Americas.

While there is no direct benefit to New Zealand (it's a connection across the Atlantic, not the Pacific), it is another welcome connection between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, as Angola Cables CEO António Nunes points out.

"By developing and connecting ecosystems that allow for local IP traffic to be exchanged locally and regionally, the efficiency of networks that are serving the Southern Hemisphere can be vastly improved. As these developments progress they will have a considerable impact on the future growth and configuration of the global internet."


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