Pan-African operator MTN and technology giant NEC Corporation say they have launched Africa’s first 400G optical transponder.
Called Phoenix, this initiative, according to MTN and NEC, marks a significant milestone for the telecommunications industry in Africa, with the potential to revolutionise the way optical networks are built and operated, thereby transforming internet delivery across the continent.
Phoenix is part of the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Open Optical and Packet Transport (OOPT) project group, a collaborative effort involving multiple telecom operators and technology providers. The solution has met TIP’s rigorous test requirements, earning it a Controlled Environment Silver Badge, indicative of its readiness for deployment.
TIP describes itself as a global community of companies and organisations working together to accelerate the development and deployment of open, disaggregated, and standards-based technology solutions that deliver the high-quality connectivity that the world needs.
The deployment of Phoenix is designed to accelerate internet connectivity and optimise network operations, thereby democratising access to information. More importantly perhaps, it aims to make affordable internet more widely available across Africa.
MTN has embraced this technology, integrating it into its production network, specifically across its optical network between Johannesburg and Centurion in South Africa.
Phoenix is a network device, known as a white box L0/L1 transponder, that can transmit data at speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second. Its disaggregated nature allows it to be programmed to run any vendor’s software, offering operators flexibility in hardware and software selection.
This disaggregation, we are told, leads to cost reductions, accelerates innovation, and enables quicker and easier deployment of new network services.