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Shaping the Future of Subsea Communications

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When Aqua Comms attends Submarine Networks World 2016, 17-19 October in Singapore — where CEO Greg Varisco will represent America-Europe Connect (AEConnect), the next-generation transatlantic subsea cable connecting New York to London via Dublin and beyond to greater Europe — his appearance will lend a point of emphasis to a journey that began in the spring of 2015 when TE SubCom began manufacturing the subsea cable system. Less than a month later, Aqua Comms signed several technology giants in addition to the foundational customers that were previously announced.

More recently, Aqua Comms completed a trial of Ciena’s® (NYSE:CIEN) WaveLogic 3 transmission technology on AEConnect, the results for which will be made public at the Submarine Networks World event. This announcement follows the recent proof of concept of Ciena’s WaveLogic Encryption solution, which demonstrated the ability to safeguard all data at the optical layer on AEConnect, as well as its network expansion utilising Ciena’s GeoMesh solution and 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, powered by WaveLogic 3 Extreme coherent optics, for highly flexible, low-latency and reliable international connectivity.

Aqua Comms completed the marine segment of the AEConnect fibre optic cable system in December of last year, and went live and handed over for commercial service to its first customer shortly after the beginning of the new year. From the outset, AEConnect presented to the market not only a new transatlantic cable design, but also a new way of building networks – data centre to data centre, instead of Cable Landing Station to Cable Landing Station optical capability. A coherent-optimized subsea cable system, AEConnect supports an end-to-end approach integrating the long-haul with the metro networks. This design addresses the rise in transatlantic data centre interconnectivity (DCI) market demands with over 130 waves each at 100Gbps per fibre pair. Subsequently, Aqua Comms has incorporated the most important data centre locations in New York, Dublin, and London as key Points of Presence (PoPs) in its network.

Over the past year, a flurry of milestone partnerships has facilitated connectivity of both subsea and terrestrial segments of the AEConnect system. In August 2015, Equinix’s New York and London International Business Exchange data centre campuses became carrier-neutral network access points for Aqua Comms to connect its low latency subsea cable route. This new connectivity between North America and London now allows network service providers to be able to tap into economic opportunities stemming from a presence in two of the biggest commercial centres in the world.

Then, in November, AEConnect became available in Digital Realty’s 32 Avenue of the Americas data centre located in New York City, providing low-latency connectivity from the company’s New York data centre to London. Shortly after the cable went live in January, PCCW Global announced its cooperation to deliver transatlantic capacity on AEConnect, which will enable PCCW to obtain additional route diversity.

Aqua Comms has also selected Interxion to provide data centre services in Ireland, and formed a strategic commercial partnership with euNetworks Group to enable Aqua Comms’ to extend AEConnect across Europe on euNetworks’ footprint. Additionally, the company selected data centre and colocation provider Telehouse to provide the European hub for its next-generation transatlantic network.

Other significant customers and partners have followed.

Last July, CenturyLink began activating its 100 Gigabit waves of high capacity connectivity between New York and London on AEConnect to support CenturyLink’s U.S. to Europe broadband traffic. The circuits Aqua Comms has provided to CenturyLink from New York City to London are lit PoP to PoP with no intermediate or cable landing station regeneration. The high capacity transatlantic route is integrated with the diverse terrestrial segments on both ends, enabling CenturyLink to provision end-to-end high capacity connectivity without regeneration and utilising advanced modulation techniques. Seen as a major milestone for CenturyLink’s international network, the company can respond faster to control the provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting of end-to-end connectivity between its U.S. network and any CenturyLink PoP on its European network.

Last month Aqua Comms announced a partnership with Open Eir that enables it to connect AEConnect to data centres in Dublin from its Killala Cable Landing Station through a 350km terrestrial fibre connection. From Dublin, home to one of the largest clusters of data centres in Europe, the system links Aqua Comms’ Irish Sea fibre network, CeltixConnect, on to Wales and major data centres in London.

The story of AEConnect represents a brisk and densely rich narrative over the past 18 months, and especially since it went live last January. As the global subsea industry gathers in Singapore for 19th annual Submarine Networks World, its theme “Global Connectivity’s Next Frontier,” aligns perfectly with the cable system’s innovative technologies and advanced network design elements that are shaping the future of submarine communications.

Join Aqua Comms at Submarine Networks World 2016 next month, in Singapore.

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