Vodacom South Africa and Nokia Achieve Highest Transmission Rates Across a Live Optical Network in Africa

  • Companies successfully conduct field trial to transform nationwide optical network
  • Field trial paves the way for high-speed data connectivity services, improved user experience and reduced operational expenses

Vodacom South Africa and Nokia are working together to transform the operator’s nationwide optical transmission network through Nokia’s Photonic Service Engine 3 (PSE-3) chipset hardware to deliver high capacity transmission. Through a recent field trial, the companies achieved the highest data transmission rates and performance across their live, optical network, demonstrating a significant increase in transmission network capacity for Vodacom South Africa.

The optical transmission network allows the transference of data on different light frequencies in an optic fibre cable. The deployment of the Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch will assist Vodacom South Africa in maintaining high quality data services across the country, to both address the ongoing surge in data traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It will also ensure that the optical network is ready for the higher peak network speeds which will result from the expansion of 5G services, amongst others.  The nationwide optical network will connect all major South African cities, large data centres and network hubs.

Beverly Ngwenya, Technology Director at Vodacom South Africa, said: “Vodacom continuously seeks to provide a world-class network experience for its customers. Initiatives such as these will ensure that our customers continue to enjoy a high quality network service while also allowing Vodacom to optimise its network resources to support the increase in demand for data connectivity services and for the expansion of our 5G network in future.” 

The live network trial successfully established a high-capacity 500Gbps link between regional data centres in Midrand and a 300Gbps link over a long-distance route between Cape Town and Midrand. This was achieved without any electrical regeneration on a route that spans more than 1600 kilometres.  

Details of products and services used for the trial: 

· Nokia PSE-3 is powered by Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), a concept pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs, which allows for the extraction of as much capacity as possible over an optical channel. It enables maximizing the performance and capacity of every link in the optical network.

· Nokia’s wavelength routing technology is powered by a Colorless, Directionless, Contentionless with FlexGrid (CDC-F) optical switch architecture. It is a high performance non-blocking optical switch architecture for maximum performance.

· Nokia high-capacity muxponder (S4X400) was used during the trial over the live network. The solution can seamlessly be deployed on Vodacom’s network for high-performance applications over metro, regional, and long-haul optical networks.

Roque Lozano, Vice President of IP and Optics for the Middle East and Africa market at Nokia, said: “Nokia’s PSE technology provides greater network capacity while also reducing the cost per bit, significantly improving power savings. We are pleased with the results of our trial that comes from our continued strategic partnership with Vodacom South Africa. Our solution will support the operator in meeting the ever-growing demand for more capacity that comes with 5G, fiber-to-the-home and Enterprise DCI, maximizing its optical network’s performance with highly reliable and flexible new services.”