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Alcatel-Lucent unveils major transformation for undersea cable systems

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks introduces industry-first 1620 SOFTNODE providing full scalability - from smallest upgrades to largest new systems - and enabling web scale connection.

Paris, May 11, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, the submarine cables subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), is to enable undersea cable system operators to meet increased demand for capacity, connectivity and flexible data exchange with the introduction of a major innovation that will transform existing submarine line terminal assets.

ASN’s 1620 SOFTNODE is an industry-first platform that will enable the transmission of 240 terabit-per second (Tbit/s) on multiple fiber pairs. This will allow operators to open up the path to new data services, while extending their reach and creating long-haul economies of scale.

The 1620 SOFTNODE has been selected by GoTo Networks for the Australia West Express system, the first direct undersea cable between Australia, the Middle East and Africa. The platform’s capabilities were also demonstrated during a recent field trial conducted over the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) system, which has been in service since December 2012. The field trial demonstrated a breakthrough transmission of 12.6 Tbit/s of data per fiber pair.

The 1620 SOFTNODE platform leverages the field-proven 1620LM submarine line terminal equipment, and will provide webscale connectivity between data centres and Points-of-Presence (PoPs) in different continents. Thanks to new and enhanced features, such as one single line card for variable bit rates, it will offer complete scalability from the smallest upgrades to the largest new systems, faster transmission speeds and a wider range of channel spacings on longer routes, maximizing capacity and flexibility over undersea systems of any reach.  

Additionally, the 1620 SOFTNODE will optimize the footprint in the landing station as the new terminal equipment dimensions are reduced by as much as ten times, also reducing power consumption by a factor of 2-3 compared to previous generation SLTE technology.

Olivier Gautheron, Chief Technology Officer of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks said: “New undersea plant is emerging offering larger spectrum and more fiber pairs to serve new data centers with ultra high capacity. At the same time, existing undersea plant designed with legacy technology needs to better support design capacity, connectivity and flexibility. By evolving the 1620 SLTE architecture to SOFTNODE, new and enhanced node configurations will provide more advantages over traditional submarine cable architectures both at node level and at system level.”

The flexibility offered by the proprietary spectrum engineering within SOFTNODE allows bit rates to be tuned according to each specific application -- for example 400G for regional use and 300G for transoceanic transit. The variable bit rates are optimized by using a single line card. While the single line card provides the flexibility to use 100, 200, 300 and 400 Gbit/s transmission, it also provides a full set of tools to further tune the transmission performance for any given link.

About the 1620 SOFTNODE

The innovative 1620 SOFTNODE incorporates additional flexibility to allow faster data speeds 100G/200G/300G/400G:

  • Distances up to 14,000km offering multi-PoP (point of presence) to multi-PoP network configurations with multi-degree nodes connected to more fibers.
  • Stepless tuning of optical transmission to extract the best capacity from the wet plant and dry plant via 48 software configurable submarine modulation formats.
  • A true gridless architecture providing the capability to tune any wavelength in the spectrum down to 33GHz with no fixed granularity.
  • Anticipates future evolutions to 400GbE and Software-Defined Networking (SDN).
  • Ability to transport any OTN and GMPLS connection.
  • Optimization of terrestrial backhaul networks by the reduction of the required number of fiber pairs to extend trans-oceanic capacity to inland PoPs and data centers.
  • One single card does it all for easy plug and play, with simplified installation and fast/dynamic provisioning.

About Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks leads the industry in terms of capacity and installed based with more than 575,000 km of optical submarine cables/systems deployed worldwide. From traditional telecom to new Oil & Gas applications, ASN provides every part of a global undersea transmission network, all tailored to the customer’s needs. An extensive service portfolio completes its comprehensive offering for the submarine business, including project management, installation and commissioning and marine operations and maintenance performed by its fleet of seven cable ships.



Alcatel-Lucent is the leading IP networking, ultra-broadband access and cloud technology specialist. We are dedicated to making global communications more innovative, sustainable and accessible for people, businesses and governments worldwide. Our mission is to invent and deliver trusted networks to help our customers unleash their value. Every success has its network.

For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on:, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog and follow the Company on Twitter: @Alcatel_Lucent.

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