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Nokia and FCCN connect Portugal’s leading universities

Nokia and FCCN connect Portugal’s leading universities

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Nokia and FCCN have connected Portugal’s leading universities with a 100Gb/sec long-haul optical transport network. The network connects tertiary education facilities and research centres in 26 cities and capacity has increased tenfold from the incumbent network. Gil Bento, Business Development Manager for Nokia, and Alberto Bellato, Senior Technical Product Manager for Nokia, tell us more. 

Nokia has announced it is building a nation-wide optical transport network spanning 3,000km for FCCN, in Portugal, connecting universities and research centres in 26 cities. The network uses wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) to increase speeds by a factor of 10 over FCCN’s legacy OADM Node network.

FCCN – Technology for Knowledge is the Scientific Computing Unit of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, which aims to contribute to the development of Science, Technology and Knowledge in Portugal, provides high-speed Internet connectivity and IT services to the Portuguese higher education and research system. 600,000 students, researchers and staff can rely on its national education network every day. The agreement includes Nokia’s 1830 Photonic Service Interconnect optical transport and switching solutions, management systems for the dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) network and design, implementation and maintenance services.

Nokia submitted the winning bid in an international tender to build a new RCTS optical network as part of the 17 million RCTS100 Project, 13 of which came from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The new DWDM network replaces FCCN’s legacy OADM network with Colorless-Flexgrid (C-F) reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs) to enable simple and remote reconfiguration of lightpaths and increases network capacity by a factor of 10 using 100G/200G wavelengths.

“Hundreds of thousands of students rely on our network every day,” said Ana Pinto, FCCN Director. “The 10x capacity boost that this announcement brings us provides the essential bandwidth necessary for ever-increasing data transmission. The success of RCTS100 Project is fundamental for all the R&E community and we value the contribution of trusted technological partners like Nokia to fulfil the extremely demanding requirements of our community.”

“Few industries have been transformed by connectivity as much as education,” said Luis Bueno, Nokia Head of Enterprise Sales, Spain & Portugal, Nokia. “We’re proud to announce Nokia’s first deal with a National Research and Education Network in Portugal and implementing this essential service where we worked closely with our local partner, Axians Portugal, to achieve this success.”

I was interested to hear more about this innovative project so caught up with Gil Bento, Business Development Manager for Nokia, and Alberto Bellato, Senior Technical Product Manager for Nokia, to find out.

What were the driving factors behind the project and what did you aim to achieve? 

Driving factors behind the project were to modernise the FCCN Backbone Network providing enhanced capacity and scalability for future growth. FCCN’s previous network was based on legacy technology with limited bandwidth and scalability. 

The new network provides a boost in the bandwidth from 10GE to 100GE services and is already prepared to support new 400GE services and 1Tbps in the future. In addition, latency on the new network is reduced by 20% using coherent technology.    

Can you tell us more about how the network enables FCCN to offer its students an improved service? 

The new network enables FCCN to provide up to 100Gbps of bandwidth connectivity compared to a limited bandwidth of 10Gbps in the past. The boost in bandwidth enables FCCN to offer the universities and research centres improved connectivity.

How scalable is the network and how reliable is the infrastructure?

The network is highly scalable allowing a total capacity of 20Tbps in each fibre link with the capability to transport up to 600Gbps per lambda with the Nokia PSE-5 latest chipset and even 1Tbps per lambda in the near future. The new network is also highly reliable according to telco industry standards, providing 99,999% reliability with a fully redundant architecture to prevent services impact against a HW failure or fibre cut.

Do you have plans to rollout a similar project in any other countries across Europe, or have you completed anything of this nature previously? 

We have rolled-out similar networks for NREN in other countries in Europe (e.g. Austria, Norway, Hungary, Greece). As public Reference there is Sikt (Norway, fka Uninett – Nokia to power Norway’s Uninett national research network expansion | Nokia). The Nokia solution is based on a high-capacity optical network for the expansion of the fibre infrastructure in northern Norway, aiding Sikt to provide advanced connectivity infrastructure for Norwegian research and education. Nokia optical transport solutions will enable advanced, multidisciplined research, including geophysical sensing and sustainable resource exploration.

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