Monday, January 21, 2019

ASN debuts aluminium conductor cable for subsea systems

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) announced the commercial availability of aluminium conductor cable for optical fiber submarine systems. 

ASN says aluminium offers an alternative to copper conductor cables, with same level of quality and reliability. The company has conducted extensive testing and qualification program to demonstrate its suitability for ultra-long haul deep sea transmission systems. This included mechanical, electrical, optical and environmental tests performed on deep sea and armoured cables, also validated during a sea trial.

ASN also noted that this new cable variant has already been selected for a major long-distance project by Facebook.

Najam Ahmad, Vice President, Network Engineering at Facebook, said: “Our efforts are focused on expanding connectivity and increasing the adoption of innovative technologies, without compromising reliability. The use of aluminum cable in submarine systems represents an attractive evolution as technology advances and demand increases for more data throughput and higher speeds.”

The use of aluminium conductor answers the need of operators and content providers to better support the growth of demand and to reduce submarine cable costs, by introducing an alternative to copper
conductor, which is one of the most expensive raw materials currently used in repeatered submarine systems.

ASN cites the following benefits of the new aluminium conductor compared to copper:

  • A better cost-effectiveness, while maintaining a performance equal to copper.
  • A more stable supply market, which benefited over the past fifteen years from technology improvements, mainly driven by the oil & gas industry. This has led to the development of new industrial techniques and equipment now available for aluminium processing and welding on long distances.
  • A potential for higher speed of production to speed-up the delivery of new systems.
  • An enabler to achieve solutions for low direct current resistance (DCR) with higher number of fiber pairs.

Philippe Piron, President and CEO of Alcatel Submarine Networks said: “The introduction of a new cable variant using aluminium conductor addresses the market demand for more cable capacity at a reasonable cost, while keeping the same level of quality and reliability. After the introduction of loose tube technology in submarine cables 25 years ago, ASN is again the first to bring an innovative improvement to submarine cable design, and continues to show its leadership by anticipating customer demands."