How Indigo provides proactive support to the Amitié subsea cable system
Once again, Indigo is proud to be involved in a leading-edge global project, this time providing Systems Operator Support services to the Amitié project, the highest capacity transatlantic subsea cable system ever deployed. We’ve made it our mission to match its state-of-the-art technology with the highest level of monitoring and security compliance, all run from our subsea NOCs (Network Operations Centres) and supported by our SOC (Security Operations Centre). [ For more about the service, see Indigo Subsea Networks Systems Operator]
Completed in July this year, roughly 6,800km of optical submarine cable connects the United States with the UK and France. It includes a branching unit that uses two different types of switching technologies, allowing fiber pair owners to switch either individual optical wavelengths between different landings or the full fiber capacity.
For such a complex project, we drew on all of our experience to provide monitoring and security surveillance as well as coordinating maintenance. As always, we took a proactive approach. The scale of this project demands it because Amitié is about increasing the reliability, speed and diversity of subsea cable routes between two continents. The consortium behind it serves countless people, organizations and businesses, and it’s our job to provide the first line of support when it comes to resilience and security.
Catching faults early
Core to our service is the open data communications network (DCN) we use to manage the cable system. It enables our NOC team to track performance and events on a 24x7x365 basis, with every event on the network meticulously analysed and documented in the Indigo trouble ticketing system.
Yes, we tick all the boxes around SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality); we are certified to recognised International Security Standards, like ISO27001, and we use AIS (Automatic Identification System) to track shipping movements that might interfere with the cable, but they are all table stakes in winning a contract like Amitié. What makes Indigo different is the lengths we go to avoid downtime by being proactive, rather than reactive.
While subsea faults may pose challenges in terms of prediction, Cable Landing Station Equipment faults seldom occur without prior warning or indication. Part of our approach is to identify object change patterns in the equipment we monitor that may be an early indicator of a problem to come. Changes in the run speed of an individual cooling fan where there is no change in the ambient temperature of the environment, power consumption increases without a clear cause, and CPU utilization increases are some of the more obvious measurable indicators, which may not immediately require intervention, however, may represent a particular low-frequency pre-failure pattern that could present an opportunity to intervene in a controlled manner rather than wait for a failure to occur.
Rather than watch it play out over and the service be impacted, we monitor the change, the rate of change, report it and present options to the likely impacted parties.
Deep skills and global reach
What makes this work is our support team, all qualified and experienced engineers who are capable of working through any number of service-impacting scenarios. If the fault is at a CLS, by the time they arrange for our field engineers to turn up, our logistics team will be ready to supply any parts required, wherever the location. It’s a smooth, end-to end process that’s all about early intervention to mitigate the risk of downtime. And it’s an approach that will only get better and more forensic as we continue to automate processes and introduce AI capabilities to further accelerate troubleshooting.
If the fault is in deep sea we coordinate with repair ships to know what the fault is, get to the right place, with the right equipment, as soon as possible.
Another advantage we have over other service providers is the scale of our global operations, a geographic footprint that spans over 90 countries. Particularly relevant to Amitié is having a NOC in two different countries, with two completely different links from the network to ensure resilience and backup if one facility should go down. And we have nationwide field teams in the UK, France and the USA to complete maintenance tasks as they arise.
Because of escalating cybercrime, we have also been prioritising our security support services. Our SOC monitors the DCN 24x7x365 for potential threats. As a matter of course, a firewall is installed on any device that connects to the internet and a document is created for every piece of activity.
As well as logging events on every node, the team monitor all of our company devices and internal networks. If there is a breach, our SOC has the power to stop everything in its tracks until the issue is remediated and the vulnerability closed. Our priority is always to protect the security and integrity of the systems we’re monitoring for our customers, that means constantly making sure our own house is in order as a primary service provider.
If you want to find out more about how Indigo adopts an Open DCN approach to manage all the SLTE devices within our customer managed sites, download the DCN datasheet.