By Nortel News
Virgin Media, the UK's leading entertainment and communications company, has enhanced the capacity in its existing submarine cable link between the UK mainland and Ireland using a next-generation optical solution from Nortel* [OTC: NRTLQ].

The 40Gbit/s submarine enhancement, follows Nortel's successful deployment of 40Gbit/s technology in Virgin Media's network, and will support the roll out of superfast broadband services across the UK. The terrestrial and submarine portions of the network have been upgraded to quadruple network capacity with minimal disruption.

Virgin Media operates a north and south optical fibre cable between the UK and Ireland underneath the Irish Sea. This cable already carries 10Gbit/s channels. The upgraded terrestrial and undersea cable network links Lytham St. Annes on the west coast of the UK to Dublin and covers approximately 238 kilometers.

The system upgrade extends the life of Virgin Media's cable infrastructure investment, as well as providing additional bandwidth. It also provides Virgin Media a potential future migration path to upgrade its submarine link to 100Gbit/s to accommodate the growing popularity and take up of multimedia services.

“The Nortel 40G Adaptive Optical Engine solution enables the upgrade of existing optical networks without the need for extensive network re-engineering or massive recabling costs,” said Peter Newcombe leader, Metro Ethernet Networks Sales, Nortel, EMEA. “This was important on the Virgin Media project because their link is 238km long and most of it is undersea. It's also an advantage on the busy undersea routes to Ireland.”

The upgraded network spans the terrestrial and submarine distances and can carry up to 12 x 40Gbit/s wavelengths, providing up to 480Gbit/s of capacity over a fibre loss of up to 58dB in this deployment over the unrepeatered wet plant. Unrepeatered submarine solutions provide significant capital and operating savings and are also a cost-effective alternative to terrestrial builds in coastal regions.

The end-to-end unrepeatered submarine solution was delivered by Nortel in conjunction with partner MPB Communications, which provided the high-power RAMAN amplification equipment needed to achieve network reach without undersea repeaters. The Nortel 40Gbit/s Adaptive Optical Engine includes simple plug-in interfaces for Nortel's flagship Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 converged packet optical platform.