By Ciena

CienaCorporation CIEN +1.22% , the network specialist, today announced its collaboration with the LION2 consortium on the recently inaugurated second phase of the LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network) submarine cable project in Africa. As part of the project, Ciena's intelligent optical switching solution — already deployed and operational — helps deliver resilient broadband connectivity on the route between Kenya and the island of Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius.

Key Facts:

  • The LION2 consortium selected Ciena's CoreDirector FS Multiservice Optical Switch as the switching platform of choice for the LION project. Now deployed in all five landing stations of the cable system (both LION and LION2), CoreDirector FS offers intelligent mesh protection capabilities to provide robust and scalable connectivity in the risk-prone submarine environment.
  • LION2 is a 2,700 km extension of the 2009-launched LION regional cable system, connecting two new submarine stations in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast and on the French island of Mayotte to existing stations in Madgascar, La Reunion and Mauritius. LION2 provides Mayotte with access to a broadband Internet network, for the first time offering local businesses and consumers a viable alternative to satellite connectivity. In addition, the new cable provides an alternative route for broadband transmissions to Europe and Asia for other African countries.
  • Delivered in a turnkey deployment project, CoreDirector FS nodes are meshed together and used as intelligent SDH Interconnection Equipment (SIE) aggregating local traffic into 10 Gbps submarine wavelengths. The solution allows for efficient and granular distribution of the submarine network bandwidth to all members of the LION2 consortium, ensuring that the parties involved can maximize their investment in the project.
  • The self-healing capabilities enabled by Ciena's OneConnect Intelligent Optical Control Plane make submarine networks more resilient by dynamically rerouting services around failures caused by natural disaster or unexpected fiber cuts. OneConnect has proven to restore around multiple simultaneous failures and is designed to continually identify a viable network path for high-priority services. This combination of fully-automated restoration and resiliency provides members of the LION2 consortium with a flexible network foundation to customize services to the requirements of specific customers and drive incremental revenue opportunities. The consortium is also managing its network with Ciena's advanced management solution for simplified, automated service activation and proactive monitoring.
  • The LION2 consortium gathers several operators with active investment in the shared infrastructure, including France Telecom with three partners of the Orange Group — Mauritius Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Telkom Kenya — as well as the African carrier Emtel Ltd. and Societe Reunionnaise du Radiotelephone, a subsidiary of the French telecommunications group SFR.

Executive Comments:

  • “The LION project is a truly pioneering enterprise, literally delivering broadband for the very first time to some of the Indian Ocean islands to connect them with the rest of the world. Ciena's intelligent networking technology, deployed in both phases of the project, is a critical element of the overall solution, offering unmatched resiliency and ensuring maximum network uptime for both the operators involved, and — more importantly — their customers.” – Yves Ruggeri, Chairman of LION 2 Management Committee
  • “The expansion of the LION project is excellent news for the population of Mayotte, the Indian Ocean Islands and East Africa. The high-capacity services that can now be delivered to these regions will allow both local enterprises and individual consumers to benefit from significantly faster Internet speeds — a service that we have come to take for granted in the western world, but one which will no doubt have substantial economic impact on the region.” – Eric Sele, vice president of sales, Southern and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ciena

Technology Background:

  • Optical mesh networks rely on optical control plane technology to automate provisioning and restoration of complex optical networks.
  • Properly designed mesh networks can achieve availability of 99.9999 percent, which translates into only 31 seconds of annual downtime, yielding a tenfold improvement when compared to traditional ring-based networks.
  • Mesh-based networks, by virtue of interconnected topology, can also reduce required network capacity by more than 30 percent when compared to ring-based networks.

Supporting Resources

  • Network graphic (by Orange Group): LION2 Broadband Optical Submarine System
  • Product overview: Ciena's CoreDirector Multiservice Optical Switch
  • Technology overview: OneConnect Intelligent Control Plane
  • Whitepaper: Ciena's Intelligent Self-Healing Mesh Networks
  • Video: Optical Control Plane
  • Video: Ciena Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions
  • White paper: Deploying International Mesh Networks Using An Intelligent Infrastructure


About Ciena

Ciena is the network specialist. We collaborate with customers worldwide to unlock the strategic potential of their networks and fundamentally change the way they perform and compete. With focused innovation, Ciena brings together the reliability and capacity of optical networking with the flexibility and economics of Ethernet, unified by services and software that delivers the industry's leading network automation. We routinely post recent news, financial results and other important announcements and information about Ciena on our website. For more information, visit