New fiber optic cable will accelerate scientific cooperation between Brazil and Europe

Brazil - Europe

EllaLink, a fiber optic cable that directly connects Fortaleza, in Ceará, to the city of Sines, on the Portuguese coast, was inaugurated at the end of August by the BELLA scientific consortium.

As part of the inauguration procedures, the team from the São Paulo Center for Regional Analysis (SPRACE), a project linked to the Center for Scientific Computing at the São Paulo State University (NCC-Unesp), conducted a series of experiments to demonstrate the potential of the new cable, which is expected to impact scientific collaboration between the two shores of the Atlantic. Dedicated to research in the area of high energy physics, SPRACE was created in 2003, with support from FAPESP.
During the experiments, data was transmitted between São Paulo and Lisbon, where the Laboratory for Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP) is located, and between São Paulo and the facilities of the European Center for Nuclear Research (Cern). The data transmission rate between São Paulo and the European research centers has reached 100 gigabits per second, a gain of almost ten times the current transmission speed.

Currently, the connection between Cern and SPRACE is made through networks that connect Europe with the cities of New York and Washington, in the United States. From there, the data travels through Atlanta and then Miami, also in the United States, before reaching Brazil. With the EllaLink cable, the data travels 6,200 kilometers across the Atlantic at a depth of up to 4,000 meters from the Brazilian coast to Europe. With the reduced route, the time for a data packet to travel from São Paulo to the Cern facility and back has fallen, on average, from 0.256 seconds to 0.106 seconds, less than half the current value.

The demonstration involved the support and infrastructure of two Brazilian networks, the Research and Education Network at São Paulo (Rednesp), and the National Research and Education Network (RNP). Funded by FAPESP, Rednesp was called ANSP until 2020, and was the first national institution with Internet access. Using optical equipment developed by the Brazilian company Padtec, the data generated in servers at NCC-Unesp were transmitted to Rednesp’s network assets, installed at Equinix’s datacenter in the city of Barueri (SP). Next-generation network equipment from RNP and RedClara were responsible for enabling the transmission between São Paulo and Fortaleza, where the link to the submarine cable of the BELLA program is located. The transmission of the network inauguration was attended by the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sérgio Freitas.

Among the European partners, the demonstration involved the Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics Laboratory and the National Distributed Computing Infrastructure, both from Portugal, and the multi-gigabit network GÉANT, Europe’s leading education and research network. In Latin America, there was support from the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks (RedClara). The BELLA consortium is made up of GÉANT, RedClara and RNP and invested 25 million euros in the cable, of which 7.5 million euros were funded directly by RNP. The bulk of the investment, estimated at €150 million, was funded by the pan-European equity fund Marguerite II. The new cable will enable fast communication between Europe and seven countries connected to RedClara.