Liquid Kenya Deploys Nokia OTN-DWDM Solutions

Liquid Telecom Kenya will upgrade its optical networks in the East African countries and has selected Nokia. The operator had signed a two-year partnership agreement to upgrade its optical fiber cable networks to support Nokia’s OTN/DWDM technology targeting an initial capacity enhancement of 500G.

Liquid Telecom Kenya, which is part of the pan-African telecommunication service provider Liquid Telecom has a significant amount of optical transmission infrastructures in African countries. Nokia’s OTN/DWDM technology will help Liquid to transmit faster and more reliable signals over its existing fiber optic cable routes from the Indian Ocean to the datacenters in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and neighboring countries.

The deployment processes were started in October 2018 and are expected to provide enhanced services to thousands of corporate and FTTH users, while it has the potential to reach over 85 million mobile subscribers across Kenya and its neighboring countries.

Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries primarily in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa that serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media, and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services.

Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch 32
image courtesy: Nokia

Nokia’s OTN/DWDM technology is powered by the Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) and the current upgrade would allow Liquid Telecom to meet the growing demand from its carrier, mobile operator and internet service provider (CSP/ISP) customers for higher-capacity inter-networking services.

The newly enhanced capacity network will support high-capacity connections from the submarine landing stations in Mombasa, Kenya, to major datacenters in Nairobi, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, as well as surrounding markets. Liquid Telecom will become the first communications solutions provider to connect through their own network with nearly every country that borders Kenya whilst also providing an alternate fiber route to the submarine for other landlocked countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, and DR-Congo.

Liquid Telecom officials said that the reasons for selecting Nokia’s DWDM and OTN technologies were for increasing the capacity and bandwidth, and also due to the solution’s ability to support long-distance transmission. The Nokia solution allows Liquid Telecom to reuse its existing Nokia DWDM infrastructure, which reduces its capital expenditures.

At the first phase, Liquid will deploy the solution on the following routes:

Nairobi – Mombasa: high-capacity interconnections from Nairobi datacenters to the submarine landing stations at Mombasa
Nairobi – Kampala: opens a new high-capacity route to Uganda, Rwanda and beyond
Nairobi – Namanga: opens a new high-capacity route to Tanzania
Nairobi – Ethiopia: opens a new high-capacity route to Ethiopia and gives the landlocked country an alternate route to the submarine connection in Djibouti

The liquid has built Africa’s largest independent fiber optic network, which spans over 70,000 kilometers. Liquid operates state-of-the-art data centers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Nairobi, with a combined potential of 19,000 sqm of rack space and 80 MW of power. This is in addition to offering leading cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure and innovative digital content provision including Netflix and Kwesé TV across our fiber footprint. Through this combined offering Liquid Telecom is enhancing customers experience on their digital journey.

Official Statements
Ben Roberts, CTO, Liquid Telecom
“We believe that every individual on the African continent has the right to be connected. This is the vision that has been driving our network expansion across Africa. By teaming up with Nokia, we have been able to quickly adapt to the industry’s rapid growth within the region and greater access to our high-speed fiber network and cloud services across East Africa. This comes at a time when more mobile operators are planning to increase their backbone bandwidth as they prepare for 5G which is driving the demand for the high-speed city to city internet links.”

Daniel Jaeger, head of the Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia
“As an industry-leading optical network provider, Nokia has enabled customers to maximize network capacity and efficiency while supporting the deployment of mission-critical services. With our DWDM/OTN network, Liquid Telecom can offer the high capacity and low latency needed for its customers, ensuring an excellent customer experience and ultimately connecting all of Africa to the digital world. This network will be an important, additional backbone network with Nokia technology across Africa.”

At the end of the deployments, Liquid Telecom will upgrade its optical networks to provide high-capacity services in Kenya and Uganda, with connectivity in Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, and Ethiopia

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Author: Praveen Gupta

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