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NTT demonstrates hyper low-latency connections between US and UK data centres

Written by Mon 15 Apr 2024

Industry solutions companies, NTT DATA and NTT Corporation, have announced the successful demonstration of All-Photonics Network (APN)-driven hyper low-latency connections between US and UK data centres.

In the UK, NTT DATA and NTT connected data centres north and east of London using Innovative Optical Wireless Network (IOWN) All-Photonics Network (APN) technology. The round-trip delay was less than 1 millisecond. In the US, NTT DATA and NTT achieved similar results, with data centres in Northern Virginia indicating very low latency in data communication between them.

“The goal of this initiative is to transform geographically distributed IT infrastructure into the functional equivalent of a single data centre,” said NTT DATA and NTT.

NTT DATA and NTT conducted separate demonstrations, connecting data centres HH2 in Hemel Hempstead and LON1 in Dagenham in the UK, as well as VA1 and VA3 in Ashburn in the US, using APN equipment from NEC.

Despite being 89km apart in the UK and 4km apart in the US, the measurements conducted over 100Gbps and 400Gbps links showed that the APN-connected data centres in the UK operated with less than 1 millisecond (approximately 0.9 milliseconds) of latency, and with a delay variation (jitter) of less than 0.1 microseconds. 

The typical delay between data centres at an equivalent distance exceeds 2,000 microseconds (2 milliseconds). In the US case, the delay over the much shorter span was approximately 0.06 milliseconds, with delay variation less than 0.05 microseconds. 

Challenges of Data Centres Drive APN Demonstration

NTT DATA and NTT said the data centre market faces significant challenges due to local constraints like carbon dioxide emission restrictions and land shortages, particularly in urban areas. 

These obstacles have led operators to build data centres in suburban areas. However, geographically distant data centres often experience high communication delays, or latency, which can impact meeting customer demands for low latency.

By comparison, conventional networks with general Layer 2 switches experience delay variation of several microseconds to tens of microseconds. NTT DATA and NTT said the APN significantly reduces latency and jitter, a substantial improvement over conventional networks.

NTT DATA and NTT said IOWN APN allows data centre operators to activate new communication lines by adding wavelengths, without installing additional dark fibre infrastructure. 

This feature eliminates the time and resources required for laying new fibre optic cables, enabling data centre operators to adapt to user demand. As a result, operational flexibility and data centre efficiency is improved.

NTT DATA and NTT highlighted the critical role of the APN in meeting demand for low latency across applications, encompassing real-time AI analysis for industrial IoT and predictive maintenance, smart surveillance systems, smart grid and energy management, and natural disaster detection and response. 

The company also said APN could be utilised in the financial sector, where low latency is necessary for activities like remittances, settlements, and transactions.

In February, NTT said it was set to develop its first data centre campus in the Paris market. This marked a significant expansion in one of Europe’s key data centre regions for the IT infrastructure and services provider.

The new campus forms part of the company’s global expansion efforts to meet these needs. NTT plans to invest over £7.9 billion ($10 billion) in data centre growth for fiscal years 2023 to 2027.

Written by Mon 15 Apr 2024

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