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Nokia sets new record for submarine cable capacity as demand jumps
October 12, 2016 / 6:56 AM / a year ago

Nokia sets new record for submarine cable capacity as demand jumps

FRANKFURT, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) Unit said on Wednesday it has set a new record for cable transmission capacity for communications traffic - doubling its previous levels - as the company responds to booming demand from Internet firms.

The top supplier of undersea cable networks said that with the company’s research arm, Nokia Bell Labs, it had demonstrated in lab tests a 65 terabit-per-second transmission using dual-band fiber amplifiers - the equivalent of streaming 10 million high-definition TV channels simultaneously.

Google, Microsoft and Facebook as well as mainstay telecom operator and government customers are all in need of greater communications capacity. Research firm Telegeography estimates the market is poised to see an explosion of new cable deployments worth more than $8.1 billion over the next three years.

“The Internet players are driving demand across the Atlantic and Pacific, within Asia to some degree and between Latin America and the United States,” said Alan Mauldin, research director at Telegeography.

The business has long been subject to both big advances in technology and dramatic capacity gluts, which, in turn, helps drive further demand by slashing network costs, analysts say.

While only three subsea networks worth $490 million were deployed in 2015, 33 networks are set to be built within the next three years, Telegeography predicts.

ASN Chief Technology Officer Olivier Gautheron said that, when commercially ready to deploy over the next two to three years, the new technique promises to help reduce transmission costs, increase network resilience and allow networks to dynamically adapt to changing traffic conditions.

The ASN trial took advantage of a new “probablistic” modulation technique from Bell Labs that allow customers to maximise the capacity of high-speed optical networks or to trade off capacity by extending the distance needed between amplifiers to boost electronic signals in order to reduce network costs.

Nokia does not disclose specific results for ASN, saying only that the business enjoyed year-on-year growth in revenue and gross profit in the latest quarter, which was partially offset by weakness in its terrestrial cable business, known as Radio Frequency Systems.

ASN is the market leader in undersea cable networks with more than 580,000 kilometres of optical submarine systems deployed around the globe. It held a 47 percent share of the market in the decade up to 2014, according to research firm Terabit Consulting.

Rivals include U.S.-based TE SubCom, with 30 percent and NEC with 12 percent. Smaller rivals range from Fujitsu with 4 percent to Huawei Marine with 2 percent to Ericsson, with just 1 percent share. (Reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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