Western European bandwidth infrastructure company, euNetworks, has completed a strategic investment in critical fiber-based Internet infrastructure linking London and Amsterdam. It includes the deployment of the Scylla subsea high-fiber-count cable system. Since 1999, this is the first undersea cable connection connecting the United Kingdom with the Netherlands.
After delivering Super Highway 1 linking Dublin and London to Lowestoft in November 2019, euNetworks now expands its unique Super Highway network onto the Continent with its next ultra-high-capacity fiber system. Lowestoft is connected to IJmuiden and subsequently to Amsterdam through euNetworks’ second Super Highway, which uses the new undersea cable Scylla.
When combined with euNetworks’ large metro networks in Dublin, Manchester, London, and Amsterdam, the technology would provide end-to-end connection between any data center and any other data center on euNetworks’ owned and controlled fiber.
In August 2019, detailed design and permitting studies began, building began in April 2020, and services were supplied to consumers in early September 2021. This low-loss network is a brand-new fiber installation. New low-loss Corning SMF28 Ultra G657.A1 fiber cables and three totally new amplification sites for the two cable landings and intermediate repeater in the UK are used in the terrestrial backhaul networks. With existing sites and backhauls established more than 20 years ago, these new facilities would minimize the unreliability of old infrastructure and enable scalable and energy-efficient amplification housing with substantially lower long-term power demands.
Subsea Cables North Sea
Scylla is a non-hybrid 96 pair double-armored sea cable that uses only Corning’s SMF28 ULL (ultra-low loss) G654.C pure silica fiber, providing all clients with “future-proofed” ultra-low attenuation over the 211km unrepeatered system. Low attenuation is essential for attaining the lowest cost per bit, which in turn leads to more bandwidth per fixed-cost transponder.
The North Sea has long been a difficult environment for subsea cables, with high water currents, a mobile sandy bottom, and heavy fishing posing recurrent service issues due to cable cuts. Scylla was designed and constructed by euNetworks utilizing innovative technologies to reduce these hazards as well as the environmental effect of the cable laying operation. The seabed was simulated during planning and mapping to detect sand wave movement as well as fishing intensity in locations where cable strikes had previously occurred. This revealed possible danger locations for the cable installation and future path adjustment or planned deeper cable burial.
The CAPJET trenching technology – a high-powered water jet more typically employed for power cables – was also utilized by euNetworks to construct the 2-3 meter deep but narrow trench for the cable to lay in. During the cable lay process, the CAPJET allows for better precision and ‘micro-routing.’ The remote-controlled device with on-board telemetry enables for real-time steering. The low ploughing tension enables for rapid maneuvering, allowing for a finer cable lay plan, burial between the troughs in natural sand formations, and afterwards deeper burying of the cable.
A conventional ploughed burial, on the other hand, can reach theoretically equal depths but must go considerably more straightly through sand waves with amplitudes of 8m and pitches of 12o. Such a method exposes the cable to hazards such as uneven burial depth and the possibility of it getting unburied over time. euNetworks has buried Scylla up to 3 meters underground, compared to the average 0.7 meters for existing networks, providing stronger protection against strikes now and in the future.
This new network was also constructed and planned with sustainability in mind on land. When compared to other routes in service, the route is built with ideal spacing and attenuation loss between amplifier sites, which means fewer ILA/PoP sites. Because of the adoption of contemporary fiber types and a reduction in ILA sites along the route, less construction, resources, and power consumption were required during deployment. Furthermore, the technology utilized at the new ILA locations is modern, with more efficient air conditioning that monitors the air being pulled in and so uses less electricity while cooling. Overall, this technique would result in much lower power consumption per bit and an optimized, low-carbon network infrastructure.
“This Super Highway is an important investment in Western European bandwidth infrastructure,” said Brady Rafuse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of euNetworks. “We’ve delivered the first new subsea cable on this important route in 20 years and delivered a unique route running between London and Amsterdam to support the many businesses whose connectivity requirements continue to grow. Critically for our customers, this network development continues our approach of delivering highly scalable, owned and operated fiber based sustainable infrastructure to support their needs.”