China Data Center Report

Submarine cable systems connecting Europe and Africa

The West Africa Cable System (WACS) is a 14530km submarine cable system connecting 15 countries, starting from South Africa and ending in London.

The WACS consists of four fibre pairs. It was initially designed with 128 wavelengths per fiber pair, running at 10 Gbps per wavelength, and design capacity of 5.12 Tbps. The initial investment of WACS is about US$650million.

WACS Initial Configuration:

  • 4-fibre pair cable system linking South Africa (SA) to Portugal, with landings in several intermediate countries and an extension Segment to the United Kingdom (UK) and London Point of Presence (Global Switch)
  • System Design Capacity: 5.12 Tbps ( 4 FPs * 128 wavelengths * 10Gbps/wavelength), upgraded to 14.5Tbps with 100Gbps techonology in 2015
  • 40Gbps wavelengths deployment on the segment between Portugal and United Kingdom from first day of operation.
  • Express fibre pair – interconnect SA, Portugal, and UK through to London PoP  (Global Switch).
  • Semi-express 1 fibre pair – interconnect SA, Nigeria, and UK through to London.
  • Semi-express 2 fibre pair – interconnect SA, Angola, Democratic Repubblic of Congo, Ivory Coast and UK through to London.
  • Omnibus Fibre pair – interconnect SA, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Portugal, UK through to London.

WACS system delivers a round trip delay (RTD) of 138.5 ms between Yzerfontein CLS in South Africa to Highbridge CLS in the UK.  

The Yzerfontein CLS in Western Cape Town serves an alternative international submarine gateway othar than the Melkbosstrand CLS in Western Cape Town, South Africa. 

The WACS landing Parties are: Telkom (South Africa), Telecom Namibia (Namibia), Angola cables (Angola), OCPT (Democratic Republic of Congo), Congo Telecom (Congo), Camtel (Cameroon, acquired from MTN Cameroon), MTN (Nigeria), Togo Telecom (Togo), MTN (Ghana), MTN (Ivory Coast), PTC (Cape Verde), Vodacom Group (Canary Islands), Tata Communications (Portugal), Tata Communications (UK), Cable and Wireless (London PoP).

WACS was supplied by ASN, and completed in 2012.

In May 2015, Huawei Marine completed an upgrade of WACS (Upgrade I) using 100Gbps technology, increasing the WACS system design capacity to 14.5Tbit/s.

In Feb 2019, the WACS Upgrade II was completed with Huawei Marine's solutions to support 32*100Gbps from South Africa to Portugal.

MainOne Submarine Cable System