AfricaCom 2019, Cape Town – Angola Cables and Nokia have announced that they have collaborated to provide a direct optical connection between Africa and North America.

The fibre-optic routing between Sangano in Angola and Boca Raton, Miami in the US has completed final acceptance trial.

“By optically interconnecting the deployed MONET and South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), Angola Cables is able to further reduce latency between content providers in North America and the rapidly growing data consumption markets in Africa,” says ├éngelo Gama, chief technology officer of Angola Cables.

Directly connecting the two cable systems through an express optical route – the first ever between Africa and North America – results in reduced latency between the continents and greatly simplifies the turn-up of services.

SACS, owned and managed by Angola Cables, consists of four fiber pairs between Fortaleza, Brazil and Luanda, Angola. The consortium-owned MONET system connects Fortaleza, Brazil with Boca Raton, Florida.

Latencies on this network show improved performance, with the routing between Luanda, Angola and Miami, Florida having been reduced to 123.4ms, and between Cape Town and Miami to 162ms. Between Johannesburg and Miami, latency has been reduced to just 180ms.

Backhaul operators, ISPs, CDNs and users most notably in the sub-Saharan region of Africa can benefit from vastly improved latencies on existing traffic routings.

“For example, the connection between Johannesburg and New York City will be reduced by up to 18% using the direct SACS and MONET fiber optic connection,” notes Gama.

The field trial leveraged Nokia’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) platform. Powered by the Photonic Service Engine coherent digital signal processor, the 1830 PSS successfully transmitted optical wavelengths over 12,635 km directly from Angola to Florida, reducing latency by 30% compared to existing routes.

“We are employing technology that makes more efficient use of the existing subsea cables. Due to Nokia 1830 PSS technology, an optical connectivity without regenerators can be set up across the SACS and MONET cable systems. This connection will register the highest bitrates and lowest latency between Africa and the USA through direct routing,” so says Carlo Corti, director of the optics business development: MEA at Nokia.

“We are proud to help our customer to establish an optical pathway that can deliver content and information for the benefit of people in Africa and the US.”

The trial of this direct optical route between Africa and US was successfully completed on 11 November 2019, and the network is available for commercial use.