New submarine cable nearly doubles Australia’s international connectivity

New submarine cable nearly doubles Australia’s international connectivity

15,840km cable runs from Sydney to Los Angeles with links to Auckland, Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati.

Credit: Southern Cross

The launch of a new submarine cable by Southern Cross Cables has expanded Australia’s international connectivity by nearly 100 per cent. 

 The Southern Cross NEXT fibre cable (SX NEXT), delivered by Alcatel Submarine Networks, created the largest submarine network connecting New Zealand, Australasia to the United States, the company said. 

 The cable will boost the capacity of Australia’s global connectivity, carrying an additional 72 Tbit/s of data, effectively doubling Australia’s direct international connectivity to the US. 

The system is expected to boost the capacity of the Australasia-to-US ecosystem by around 500% to 100 terabits/second. 

 The cable is intended to meet rising demand for hyperscale bandwidth driven by cloud adoption and digitisation. 

The 15,840km network, running from Sydney to Los Angeles with links to Auckland, Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati, becomes the third route in the Southern Cross network eco-system between Australasia and the USA, and has taken just over two years to complete.  

It was originally due to go live around the end of 2021 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “Not only is SX NEXT the first of the replacement cables for our existing systems when they retire in 2030, it also completes the trifecta for us," Southern Cross Cables CEO Laurie Miller said. 

 That is because Southern Cross was the provider of the lowest latency routes between Sydney and Auckland, along with Auckland to Los Angeles, and would now add the lowest latency route between Sydney and Los Angeles to its portfolio. 

 Southern Cross in collaboration with network equipment supplier Ciena was able to successfully commission and test the services error-free as part of the cable commissioning process, paving the way for the introduction of 400GbE services between Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles. 

Southern Cross NEXT uses Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme coherent optical technology, to mesh the new system into the current Southern Cross network fabric. Ciena’s WL5e technology also helps deliver a sustainable upgrade path by reducing power costs and inefficiencies by more than 600 per cent per bit. 

“With end-user digital applications continuing to proliferate, cable operators like Southern Cross need adaptive networks that can tackle ever-growing capacity demands yet remain reliable across long distances,” said Matthew Vesperman, managing director for Ciena Australia and New Zealand. 

“As the first cable based on the open submarine cable model, the Southern Cross NEXT cable employs the latest advancements in submarine network performance and builds upon the foundation of available real-time capabilities provided by Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme."

With contributions from Eleanor Dickinson.

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