Liquid Telecom Deploys New Optical Network in Africa Using Long-Haul DWDM

African wholesale carrier Liquid Telecom has selected optical transport equipment vendor Ekinops to supply long-haul DWDM technology for its network across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The network features the longest uninterrupted fibre spans in the continent.

Liquid’s new optical network spans more than 2,500 km and was built to accommodate the growing demand for bandwidth in the region, as well as the need for an ultra-long-haul transmission network. This expansion of Liquid’s Pan-African network will help bring the Internet to areas that have not previously had access to reliable, high-speed access.

Liquid Telecom has built Africa’s largest fibre network, which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town. In total, its Pan-African fibre network spans more than 13,000 km across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, and South Africa. It is the first to cross country borders and covers Africa’s fastest-growing economies, where no fixed network has existed before.

Typical long-haul optical networks require an amplifier site every 100 km in order to amplify the signal. In rural Africa, with its wide open spaces, where the distance between towns can be more than 400 km, this is a major challenge. The costs of building an amplifier site every 100 km – including the power generator, site security, and roads to access the site – are enormous.

With normal spans, the network would have required 16 amplification sites but by using long spans, Liquid Telecom was able to reduce the number of spans to five.

Jonathan Amir, Ekinops’ vice president of sales in EMEA, said: “With our long haul technology we helped Liquid expand their optical network cost-effectively and overcome geographical challenges. Their network will enable millions of new people to connect to the Internet.”

The new network carries multiple 10G wavelengths and can scale to support many more 10G and 100G services.

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