Southern Cross deploys SDN to serve Pacific Islands

New Trans-Pacific Gigaflex service uses SDN to offer on-demand capacity across the Southern Cross network

Southern Cross Cable Network has introduced new service offerings based on software-defined networking (SDN supported by a platform from incumbent supplier Ciena that it says will make life easier for smaller operators and the Pacific Islands.

The new Trans-Pacific Gigaflex service uses SDN technology to offer on-demand capacity across the Southern Cross network, which connects 15 cable stations and data centres across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the United States West Coast.

(The World Bank announced in December US$5.95 million loan funding to support the construction of a new submarine cable to connect the existing Southern Cross submarine cable network to Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second most populated island.)

Southern Cross president and CEO, Anthony Briscoe, said the new platform would allow Southern Cross to support ‘elastic’ services and develop new products to make Trans-Pacific interconnectivity more accessible.

“This we believe is particularly important in certain markets such as the Pacific Islands where commitments to large forward capacity and capital requirements are simply not sustainable,” he said.

“Using our access points in Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand and the USA the platform will allow us to offer more tailored offerings focused on ‘pay as you grow’ and ‘pay as you use’ capacity solutions.”

Briscoe said Southern Cross had been trialling the SDN capability over the last nine months with its optical technology supplier Ciena. The service is underpinned by Ciena’s Blue Planet software technologies, its 5400 optical transport network and its 8700 Packetwave (ethernet) service layers.

Briscoe described SDN as “a reasonably new network technology development that is being tested by several operators worldwide,” adding: “The Gigaflex bandwidth on demand capability is our first entrance into the SDN arena, in what we believe to be another world first for a pure submarine cable operator.”

Southern Cross says the new platform will also seamlessly integrate with the planned new Southern Cross NEXT cable to be laid between Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles and due for completion in 2019. Plans for the new cable were first aired in January 2016 and confirmed in September.

NEXT is planned to provide initial capacity in excess of 60Tbps adding to the existing 20Tbps capacity of the current Southern Cross system.Southern Cross says it will be the lowest latency path to the United States by some considerable margin and will provide immediate benefit to customers with additional route diversity.

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Tags NetworkingSouthern Crosssoftware-defined-networkingsoftware-defined networking (SDN)

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