New NREN capacity connects three continents

African researchers can now connect directly to South & North America
New NREN capacity connects three continents
Image credit: Andreus |

Entire ranges of research problems will in the future depend for their resolution upon multi-partner, multi-continent collaborations such as this. We are especially pleased that African researchers stand to gain substantial benefits from the project.

— Duncan Greaves, CEO of the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET)

Florida International University (FIU), Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP), Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa / South African National Research Network (TENET/SANReN), and Angola Cables have completed a project connecting North America, South America, and Africa for research and education purposes.

The project is the first-ever South Atlantic Research & Education network crossing between three continents. The initial connection is sized at 100Gbps, but can be upgraded as capacity per wavelength is improved.

How did this happen? AARCLight (the Americas Africa Research and eduCation Lightpaths) project (NSF OAC-1638990) provided support for a grant to plan, design, and define a strategy for high-capacity research and education network connectivity between the U.S., Brazil, and Africa. The study indicated a high level of enthusiasm to engage in collaborative research among the U.S., Brazil and the African REN communities.

The AmLight-SACS project successfully established a 100Gbps pathway using the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) to Angola. This connects Miami to Fortaleza to Angola. The SA NREN (TENET/SANReN) completed the path from Angola to Cape Town using part of its WACS (West African Cable System) asset and funds to extend the circuit to Cape Town at the SA NREN operated ZAOXI open exchange point. This allows TENET client institutions to use this path to connect to endpoints in South America and the U.S. as well as other NRENs on that continent.

“AARCLight and AmLight-SACS have succeeded due to strong and consistent collaboration between the partners,” said Heidi Morgan, Co-Principal Investigator and lead for the AmLight-SACS project. “Linking the U.S., Brazil and the nations of Africa to support robust research and education networking using a novel South Atlantic route is the culmination of 3 years of careful planning and execution.”

Julio Ibarra, Principal Investigator of AmLight, commented, “The AmLight-SACS project exemplifies FIU's Worlds Ahead mission as an international leader in Research & Education Networking to advance scholarship through high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, and collaborative engagement with its local and global communities.” 

This connectivity will also ultimately deliver connectivity to the Ubuntunet Alliance (the East African Regional REN) and WACREN (The West and Central African REN).

Read the official announcement here, or view more in-depth details here.