Fiber optic cable with cutting-edge technology connecting Portugal and Latin America has already reached Sines. Project is possible thanks to the decisive role of the education and research community. 

A EllaLink announced that its state-of-the-art, low latency submarine cable system has now docked in Sines, from where the connection to Latin America will be established. The infrastructure is expected to become fully operational in the second quarter of this year, providing an unprecedented level of international connectivity between the two continents and reaching Europe through Portugal.

DSCF9306 FCCN Computing Unit

The creation of this infrastructure has been identified as one of the major issues of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. The operation involves an investment of 150 million euros, half of which is financed by "anchor clients" (Bella Consortium, Cabo Verde Telecom and EMACOM). The remaining 50% of the investment comes from the pan-European investment fund Marguerite II.

EllaLink will open a 'corridor' for data transmission between the two continents, providing new opportunities for the European market. In addition to the first direct high-speed undersea cable link between Europe and Latin America, the EllaLink system also includes several terrestrial routes connecting strategic data centres in Lisbon, Madrid, Marseille, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, in partnership with Equinix and Interxion.

The role of the Unit FCCN

The submarine cable Ella Link arrived in Portugal on January 6th. The entry point of this structure in the European space is in Sines, which hosts the EllaLink's landing station . The academic and research community played a key role in the completion of this project, since the implementation of this structure was made possible thanks to funding from the BELLA program(Building the Europe Link with Latin America), with the aim of creating a research and education network between the two continents throughout the life of the system.

The Bella Program is led by a consortium of several national education and research networks. The National Scientific Computing Unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology (Unit FCCN), as the Portuguese NREN(National Research and Education Network) is the national representative in this consortium, which is also made up of the Regional Academic Networks - GÉANT (Europe) and RedCLARA (Latin America) and the counterpart NRENs of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Reduced latency

Over the last few decades, the consumption of digital products has caused the need for connectivity between countries and continents to skyrocket: from simple voice transmission to real time video streaming. The future is likely to follow the same path, given all the future applications that will be possible thanks to the worldwide deployment of 5G. These applications require less latency, i.e., the reduction of the time it takes for information to pass through the network on its way between users, data centers or platforms. In this context, latency values have become an essential factor for the digital world.

By creating a direct route between Europe and Latin America, avoiding the passage through third countries, EllaLink reduces latency by 50% compared to the current infrastructure, reaching an actual value of less than 60ms between Portugal and Brazil.

DSCF7996 FCCN Computing Unit


The impact for the user

On the other hand, the state-of-the-art technology used in the EllaLink system ensures high-quality access to telecommunication services and applications through a direct, high-speed connection with very low latency. This will be beneficial not only for all telecom platforms, but also for cloud services, access to content, all kinds of digital businesses and the gaming industry.

During the first months of 2021, EllaLink will strengthen its network to be operational by the end of the second quarter. Connections to Madeira Island and Cape Verde are planned, but also to Marseille, which will allow an extended connectivity with Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Other potential connection points with Mauritania, Morocco, French Guiana and the Canary Islands are already in sight.

"Like so many other areas of our society, science is also increasingly dependent on the access and ability to apply digital technologies. The Ella cable," says Nuno Feixa Rodrigues, member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
"Science has repeatedly demonstrated its fundamental role in creating solutions in the most diverse areas of application, helping to pave the way for solid and sustained human and technological development. Today, this mission increasingly depends on the ability to collaborate across scientific areas, cultures, countries and oceans, as well as on access to advanced digital technologies. The EllaLink cable exponentially increases the potential for collaboration in Science and Innovation between Europe and Latin America, through an infrastructure that, in addition to the important capacity to exchange data between continents, will also be a scientific instrument, capable of collecting data from the ocean floor and the surrounding water mass", emphasizes, stressing the FCT's commitment: "EllaLink is, above all, a scientific challenge in many fields of knowledge that FCT is ready to embrace, involving and encouraging the participation of the entire national scientific community".

Other related articles