A new era of ultra-low latency networking

Sohail Qadir/Omantel Wholesale
08 Nov 2016

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The need for ultra-low latency networking is driving the evolution of the undersea cable market. Connecting A to B is not good enough anymore. Enterprises and service providers are delivering Cloud, Content and Next-Generation Communications services globally and that demands ultra-low latency networking.

These applications and ecosystems are influencing the planning and delivery of new cable systems as it becomes increasingly important to cater to their needs. The value chain is more interconnected than ever before and that means new systems should be built to deliver these applications and ecosystems on a global scale.

That’s a real opportunity as enterprise and service providers look for new routes to global hubs as well as high growth markets. The traditional approach to the undersea cable market has been to connect West to East and North to South but that is not necessarily going to deliver the best possible latency to deliver Next-Gen services. There needs to be some new creativity in how cable systems are planned and developed.

New cable systems are mixing both terrestrial and undersea infrastructure in order to find the fastest routes around the world and deliver truly redundant options. The Cloud, Content and Next-Gen Communications services need maximum availability and cannot be rolled out globally unless they have reliable, unique and high performance routing options.

At Omantel, we’ve invested in new cable systems like the Asia Africa Europe 1 (AAE-1) cable system, which runs East to West, but also other systems like the Silk Road Gateway 1 (SRG-1) and Gulf to Africa (G2A), which connects China to Africa via Pakistan and Oman. We are finding unique routes that connect global hubs but also challenging and underserved markets with ultra-low latency networking.

SRG-1 connects Oman to Pakistan with onwards connectivity to Afghanistan, China, Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. These markets benefit from increased connectivity to adjacent markets but also around the world. G2A offers connectivity from Oman to Somalia and onward connectivity to Ethiopia then eventually Kenya and South Africa.

Combined these two systems support ultra-low latency networking between Asia and Africa and support trade and economic cooperation across the regions. They also provide a route between Asia and Europe that does not pass Singapore or the Indian Ocean, reducing the risk of cable cuts. We could see that AAE-1 and other infrastructure could be complemented with an ‘out of the box’ approach to building undersea cable systems.

Similarly, we have invested in the Bay of Europe Persian Express Gateway (EPEG) and Bengal Gateway (BBG) cable systems, which connect Frankfurt to Singapore with only 160ms of latency. It adds yet another unique route to access Europe from Asia and vice versa.

In the undersea cable market, there are no straight lines anymore. Latency is key for Next-Gen services to go global. As we find new way routes to accelerate connectivity, we are supporting the global growth of these services. I see the undersea cable market changing dramatically as new systems are planned and come online. We are in the era of ultra-low latency and that is delivering new creativity in our market.

Sohail Qadir is vice president at Omantel Wholesale

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