Satellites Bridge the Gap as Subsea Cable Falter

CMC Networks, a global Tier 1 service provider, has added Low Earth Orbit [LEO], Medium Earth Orbit [MEO] and Geostationary Orbit [GEO] satellite connectivity to its portfolio of solutions. This multi-orbit approach addresses the diverse connectivity needs of remote regions and challenging environments across Africa and the Middle East, removing the limits on digital transformation.

On 15 March 2024, Africa saw another connectivity incident involving a major internet outage affecting West and Central Africa, caused by a break in submarine cable systems. Four of the nine subsea cables that connect South Africa to the rest of the world were reported as damaged due to incidents on either side of the continent.

During this time, South Africa’s internet infrastructure also experienced significant issues. This event underscored the vulnerabilities of submarine cables, which are critical infrastructures for internet connectivity across continents​​. CMC Networks uses multiple submarine cable systems and therefore could divert traffic and use optimal routes to bypass the outage.

CMC Networks’ satellite solutions enable wide-reaching, high-performance and resilient networking, utilising constellations from world-leading providers. The distributed nature of the constellations adds redundancy and minimises downtime on customers’ networks, improving business continuity and enhancing user experiences, reducing the reliance on subsea cable infrastructure.

“Our goal at CMC Networks is to accelerate digital transformation across Africa and the Middle East, no matter the location. With the addition of LEO, MEO and GEO satellite solutions, we can provide seamless connectivity across geographies and during network and power outages,” said Marisa Trisolino, CEO at CMC Networks. “The recent damage to subsea cables and the subsequent disruption to businesses across South Africa has highlighted the need for a wide variety of connectivity options and digital infrastructure that has the resiliency to ensure business continuity during unforeseen events. Our satellite solutions enable service providers and enterprises to manage risk and maximise uptime.”

CMC Networks’ LEO satellites sit just over 1,000km above the Earth’s surface, providing ultra-low latency connectivity for a primary or backup connectivity solution, and consumer Internet use cases such as high-frequency trading, high-performance computing applications and more, with a round-trip delay [RTD] of +-80ms. The MEO satellites have an altitude of 8,000km, with 150ms low latency connectivity and a larger Earth view. This provides fibre-like broadband performance for enterprise-grade networking. The GEO satellites orbit 36,000km from Earth, maintaining a fixed position. These satellites provide reliable connectivity for less-latency-sensitive applications and services such as broadcast TV and low-speed data communication.

“Recent outages show that service providers and enterprises need diverse connectivity options. Networking is mission critical and networking strategies must include multiple backup connectivity that can be delivered with a simple and seamless model,” said Geoff Dornan, CTO at CMC Networks. “Our network supports a wide range of LEO, MEO and GEO use cases across Africa and the Middle East which is a real value-add for customers looking to add additional redundancy to their networks. You can’t predict what will happen across your network, but you can be proactive and prepare to adapt.”

CMC Networks operates in 51 out of 54 countries in Africa and 12 countries in the Middle East, as well as 110+ interconnect locations across Europe, the Americas, and Asia Pacific. The LEO, MEO and GEO satellites add to its portfolio of network solutions spanning AI, cloud on-ramps, cybersecurity, EDGE Cloud, SDN, virtualisation, and more. 

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