Southern Cross Cable upgrades capacity

The Southern Cross Cable Network expects to double capacity on its now completed network by 2002.

Announcing the closure of its final loop between Hawaii and the US (to come into service from March 4), the company confirmed that it will adopt dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) technology to increase capacity on the network. This technology is four times faster than that currently being used.

DWDM is a technology that puts data from different sources together on an optic fibre, with each signal carried on its own separate light wavelength. Using DWDM, up to 80 (and theoretically more) separate wavelengths or channel of data can be multiplexed into a lightstream transmitted on a single optical fibre.

SCC told Computerworld (February 12, p4) that the company was just "keeping our head above water" in meeting requests for bandwidth and the equipment to shunt the traffic to and from users, which had "forced us to accelerate our upgrade program".

Ross Pfeffer, director, Asia Pacific market for the network, said: "Our suppliers Alcatel and Fujitsu have confirmed the potential for total protected network capacity to be increased from 120Gbit/sec to 480 Gbit/sec."

SCC said it would initially apply the higher capacity DWDM technology only to its third fibre pair, which is scheduled to be equipped early in 2002. This would take total network capacity to 240Gbit/sec.

"When Southern Cross entered into service in November 2000 we expected capacity to be exhausted by the end of 2002. We now have the ability to provide for the Internet bandwidth needs of the region for the next four or five years," Pfeffer said.

The latest figures for capacity sales were also released by the company, now totalling more than $US1.6 billion.

The SCC network spans the Pacific Ocean with two separate cables, linking New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Hawaii and the US mainland. It is owned by Telecom New Zealand (50 per cent), Cable & Wireless Optus (40 per cent) and MCI WorldCom (10 per cent).

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