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Submarine Network Solutions

Crossing oceans to connect the planet


Undersea fiber optic cables connect most of the world's people, businesses and institutions, not satellites. Lying on ocean floors, these submarine cable systems carry the vast majority of our international communications and data. Together, they form the backbone for the data centers powering the world wide web.

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Alcatel Submarine Networks, a unique integrated turnkey supplier

The industry leader in turnkey submarine networks

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is the world’s only fully integrated provider of turnkey submarine network solutions. Part of Nokia, we bring all of the products and know-how needed to design and build optical communications links across the world’s oceans.

From new deployments to network upgrades, regional links to transoceanic infrastructure, we provide everything – from  route selection and surveying through system design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance. Our credentials include:

  • More than 160 years of submarine cable system experience
  • 25 years of fiber optic expertise
  • A range of solutions with multi-terabit capacities for all applications
  • More than 590,000 km of cable laid
  • More than 330,000 km of cable under maintenance
  • More than 200 fiber optic cable systems delivered
  • More than 100 upgrades completed
  • More than 6000 repeaters manufactured
  • A fleet of seven fully equipped cable ships

A long history of in-house manufacturing

To ensure the highest levels of reliability, quality and standards compliance, we design and manufacture all of our own cables, dry plant, and wet plant components.

  • Repeaters, branching units and power feeding equipment are produced in Greenwich, UK, on the site where the world’s first transatlantic cable was manufactured in 1858. Today, the site houses modern production and clean room facilities as well as office space for project management and marine operations teams.
  • Our cable manufacturing facility in Calais, France, is the largest in the world, with a production capacity of 3500 km of cable per month.

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A pioneer and an innovator in undersea cable systems

ASN has been associated with submarine networks since the first submarine telegraph cables were laid in the mid-19th century.

We’ve built one of the most successful track records in the industry, with the largest installed base of undersea cable systems.

We continue to set new standards in cable performance and reliability by combining our expertise in fiber optics with innovations from Nokia Bell Labs.

Innovation and design

In our design laboratories in Paris Saclay, France, we have more than 25,000 km of optical fiber and associated optical amplifiers. These resources allow our technical teams to create test systems for next-generation networks and to replicate deployed submarine cable systems to validate capacity upgrades.

In these labs, our design engineers model optical fiber network solutions to assess their performance. Test configurations include:

  • Straight-line transmissions up to transpacific distances
  • Test beds to assess advanced transmission technologies
  • Flexible networks with optical add-drop multiplexer (OADM) branching units
  • Network topologies specific to offshore deployments
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Connect continents, countries and communities

Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the earth's surface. Undersea fiber optic cables are the most cost efficient and reliable way to bring high-speed telecommunications services to population centers around the globe . As demand grows for increasingly content-rich services, undersea fiber optic cables are the data super highways that can connect every part of the planet:

  • Cross oceans with transoceanic submarine cable systems to deliver terabits of capacity across distances of more than 10,000 km.
  • Create regional submarine cable systems to provide smaller-scale connectivity in an optimized way.
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All of our submarine cable systems are based on proven installation methods, technologies and products for the subsea wet plant and land dry plant environments.

Wet plant components


  • Up to 8000 m depth, 8 fibre pairs, 12 kV
  • Universal Joint qualified


  • Up to 8000 m depth, 8 fibre pairs, 12 kV
  • Full protection, active supervision

Branching Units

  • Fiber routing or optical add-drop multiplexer (OADM)
  • In-service power reconfiguration, latching control

Dry plant components

Power Feeding Units

  • Compact and modular design
  • Local and remote controls

Submarine Line Terminals

  • High capacity
  • Flexibility to mix 10G, 40G & 100G channels

SDH and OTN Interconnection Equipment

  • ADM or cross-connect with protection and restoration

Upgrade Capacity
on Existing

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Upgrading existing submarine cable systems is a very cost-effective means of adding high-speed capacity. We provide the technologies, tools and teams for all of the required operations.

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And we'll recommend the best way to upgrade your network:

  • Equip an unlit fiber pair
  • Increase the channel bit rate on an existing lit fiber pair
  • Increase the channel count on an existing lit fiber pair

Connect coastal communities with cost-effective unrepeatered solutions

With no submerged active electronics, unrepeatered submarine networks are a cost-effective alternative to microwave and satellite solutions for distances up to 500 km.

Our unrepeatered submarine network solutions are derived from our high-performance repeatered solutions. They support channel rates up to 100 Gb/s and connect seamlessly with repeatered systems and terrestrial networks. Unrepeatered submarine cable systems include cable protection and armoring options to suit any installation environment or sea floor condition.

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Offshore: Applying subsea technology to new markets

Undersea fiber optic cables make ideal shared infrastructure to bring higher quality communications to offshore oil and gas platforms and offshore observatories used by scientific research organizations.

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Undersea cable systems are more flexible, reliable and immune to environmental hazards than satellite or radio connections. Operational effectiveness and safety improves. And large volumes of data can be transported with high quality, high reliability and low latency.

Marine maintenance and operations

Submarine cable systems are designed for robustness and reliability during a 25-year lifespan. However, there is always the risk of damage from external sources.

To help reduce the impact of cable outages, we provide complete submarine cable maintenance services for all types of undersea fiber optic cables.

We focus on delivering rapid response services. Our ships and depots are strategically positioned so we can arrive at a problem location as quickly as possible, equipped to perform any repairs.

To help our customers streamline operations and budgets, we offer:

  • Flexible service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Fixed prices
  • A single point of contact for service requests
  • Technical and operations support and repair planning services
  • A spare cable and joints management service

A trusted marine maintenance partner

  • More than 300,000 km of cables maintained
  • 50 cable systems covered
  • 30 customers globally
  • 7 ships and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

Meet the fleet

ASN operates 7 vessels for installing and maintaining submarine networks. Our ships are manned by qualified, experienced teams and are strategically located to service customers around the globe. All of our cable ships are equipped with:

  • High engine power, thrusters and dynamic positioning to maintain position and work in almost any weather conditions
  • High-tow force, heavy-duty ploughs for cable burial
  • Cable lay control systems
  • A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) for installation and maintenance
  • Automatic logs of critical operational parameters including navigational data, speed, tension, slack, cable counter and plough data
  • Fully redundant GPS navigation and positioning systems that provide real-time vessel positioning to an accuracy of better than ± 10 meters

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