Next Steps Across  The Pacific

Winston Qiu of Pacific Light Data CommunicationsBy Winston Qiu
May 21, 2018

A Subsea Cable Changing Internet And Cloud Infrastructure Across The Pacific

Subsea cable systems are critical infrastructure for global internet and cloud platforms. According to TeleGeography there are now 366 subsea cables worldwide. Among those subsea cables, the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) is one of significant importance, as it is a game-changing cable for connectivity, internet and cloud infrastructure across the Pacific.

PLCN is the first subsea cable with straight connection between Hong Kong and the US, non-stop running over 13000km. It comprises of 6 fiber pairs, offering huge capacity up to 144 Tbps across the Pacific, with 24 Tbps per fiber pair.

There are now 11 in-service subsea cables in Hong Kong. Only one offers trans-pacific connectivity, i.e. Asia America Gateway (AAG), with less than 10Tbps total capacity. There are stops in the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii on AAG cable system. Trans-pacific capacity on AAG cable system has almost been fully used. It is hard to get additional capacity on AAG to meet the requirement of cloud platforms which may request multiple channels of 100Gbps in the same cable route.

Hong Kong is one of telecom hubs in Asia, huge traffic from Mainland China and South East Asia is transited in Hong Kong and onward to the US. But most of such traffic must be routed to other intra-Asia cables and stopped at cable landing stations or PoPs in Japan and then connected to trans-pacific cables. Running over Hong Kong – Japan – US routes, it not only increases latency, but also makes more possible faults.

When PLCN is ready for service in 2019, such situation will be tremendously changed. PLCN will provide huge trans-pacific capacity up to 144 Tbps and the shortest round-trip delay (RTD) of 130 ms between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, more than 10ms faster than any other existing cable routes.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 100 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 34.