NEC qualifies 24 fibre pair subsea telecom cable system

29th March 2021
Alex Lynn

NEC and its subsidiary OCC have announced that they have completed full qualification of subsea repeaters and optical cable containing up to 24 fibre pairs (FPs) (48 fibres). This is a 50% improvement in fibre count over the 16 fibre pair systems generally available today. This development allows cable owners worldwide to construct subsea telecom cables with superior traffic capacity while reducing the cost per bit of the wet plant.

This approach is fully in line with SDM (Space Division Multiplexing) system architectures. NEC's 24 FP solution not only provides more flexibility to operate in the subsea fibre pair market, it also enables better connectivity in high-density subsea branches.

NEC achieved this milestone with minor modifications to its proven repeater and cable designs. Keeping NEC's quadruple pump redundancy in the repeater (established more than ten years ago) and maintaining OCC's outstanding cabling performance has resulted in cabled attenuations lower than 0.150dB/km. Low attenuation is critical to achieve large spectral efficiency as well as lower power consumption.

"As global demands for capacity and FP flexibility continue to soar, NEC is committed to helping our customers to build up their subsea networks with large spectral efficiency, lower power consumption and large-scale subsea connectivity," said Yoshihisa Inada, Deputy General Manager and Head of Subsea Technology Development at NEC's Submarine Network Division.  "We continue to evaluate multiple technical options to further increase capacity and reduce the cost/ bit of the networks."

OCC's 24 fibre pair cable can be manufactured using a wide range of existing optical fibres, according to the needs of each new cable system. Each fibre can be visually identified using a field-proven combination of ring marking and conventional fibre colouring, first introduced in 2013. Furthermore, in OCC cable, the fibre's transmission performance is completely unaffected, either by the fibre marking or cabling processes.

"We have concluded that the use of our fibres in OCC's 24 pair cable results in a cabled attenuation matching the nominal value. We are confident that our ultra-low-loss fibres can contribute to achieve large capacity, high spectral efficiency and low power consumption in transoceanic networks," said Dr Masashi Onishi, General Manager at Optical Fibre and Cable division of Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd.

"To support growing bandwidth, next generation subsea systems will offer Petabit-scale transmission. To achieve the required performance, cabling processes must capture the advantaged optical attenuation and large effective area of our ultra-low-loss fibres. OCC's cabling process for 24 fibre pairs works with our high quality fibre to meet the challenge," added Dr Bernhard Deutsch, VP & GM, Optical Fibre & Cable, Corning Incorporated.

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