Hitachi Press Release on NSA Utah Data Center Cable Purchases

The following press release from Hitachi Cable America discusses their “supply of high performance fiber optic cable and assemblies” to the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center (UDC) project.  The press release contains a number of specific details regarding the UDC project, including brief descriptions of the purpose of the facility as for “code breaking and data traffic analysis.” Hitachi has reportedly developed specialized fiber optic cables for the facility and had their InfiniBand CXP Active Optical cable assemblies, capable of 150 Gbs per second per assembly, approved for use with the latest generation of Cray supercomputer.  The Cray Cascade system is currently under development with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program and, according to the Cray website, the system will be “capable of sustained multi-petaflops performance.”   An article earlier this year in Wired by James Bamford, describes the development of the Cascade as part of a race to increase computing capabilities for the NSA.

Hitachi Cable America / PCS&M

  • 2 pages
  • August 3, 2012


Supply of high performance fiber optic cable and assemblies by Hitachi Cable America to the National Security Agency (NSA) – Utah Data Center Project / DARPA


With internet traffic growing exponentially, attacks on government and commercial computers by cyber terrorists and rogue states have escalated. Those wishing harm have espionage programs targeting the data systems used by the United States and allies. Drug traffickers and weapons dealers use the internet with encrypted communications.

To counter these activities, the National Security Agency, an agency of the U.S. government, is building a fortified data center deep inside a mountain in Utah. This complex will house the world’s most sophisticated supercomputers dedicated to code breaking and data traffic analysis. Another site will eventually take delivery of the latest Cray supercomputer called Cascade to support the NSA’s need to crack codes faster to protect the nation and its allies.

HCA developed fiber cable suitable for the densely packed NSA data center facilities, as well as indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables and shielded high speed copper data cables. Additionally, HCA’s InfiniBand CXP Active Optical cable assemblies, capable of a blazing 150 Gigabits per second per assembly, has been qualified by Cray for their Cascade system.


Winning two projects at this level requires a degree of technical sophistication few companies can match. Hitachi Cable America has processes that allow customers the ultimate in fiber cable flexibility. Instead of two cables, each with a single type of fiber optic glass, our designers have developed a single cable with both long distance and short distance optical glass embedded in it. Instead of forcing the NSA to use the commercial standard cable YELLOW jacket color for long haul glass and ORANGE jacket color for short distance glass, we’ve modified our designs to allow them to use jacket colors based on security level and service type. Our sales engineers have spent many hours with NSA data center designers educating them on the solutions we have and, at that same time, we have learned the design nuances of this complex site and others. Our technical knowledge, our design and manufacturing flexibility and our competitive costs are a winning formula.


NSA designers visited Hitachi Cable America’s Performance Cable Systems & Materials Division facility in Manchester New Hampshire USA for a site audit. Under one roof, and, in our opinion, they saw the best cable manufacturing facility in North America for fiber optic cable, category and custom copper cables. Clean, organized, with modern manufacturing equipment and a highly-trained staff, the Hitachi Cable plant that ships 100,000,000 meters annually of insulated wire and fiber strands impressed these designers. Our dedicated government sales team understands the entire NSA bidding cycle. We’ve built credibility account by account, data center after data center with each project finished with superior results. There is no other way to prove to the NSA than to deliver what was promised, each and every time. As a result, the NSA specified Hitachi Cable as the exclusive cable supplier for this program because of our reputation for delivering on our commitments.

Our InfiniBand Active Optical cable assembly qualified by Cray for the Cascade supercomputing project confirms Hitachi Cable’s position in the elite class of transceiver suppliers. Years of experience supplying transceivers to Cisco, IBM, and Hitachi itself, combined with our ability to make superior fiber optic cable gave us the prerequisite skills to design the 150 Gbps Active Optical Cable assembly. Miniaturization technology without sacrificing transmission performance is what sold Cray on us.


While many American cable producers have shifted production of cable products to China or Mexico, Hitachi Cable has continued to expand its presence in the United States. Starting with flat cable in 1986, ,then adding premise cable in 1991, fiber optics in 1998, and with numerous expansions over the past ten years in Manchester NH, Hitachi Cable has significantly increased output capacity in the USA. This has not gone unnoticed by the National Security Agency and many of the distribution partners who support the Agency. American-made, high quality cabling solutions is a vital requirement in maintaining the nation’s data infrastructure.

Hitachi Cable’s investment in America is not just in New Hampshire but in New York, Indiana and Florida. Altogether, we support more than 500 American workers and their families. These workers are not just assembling parts built in low cost countries. Using domestically-made optical fiber from our partner, Corning Optical Fiber , we build complex copper and fiber cables with a very high domestic content value, important when considering the Buy American requirements of the U.S. Government.

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3 comments for “Hitachi Press Release on NSA Utah Data Center Cable Purchases

  1. JohnBoy
    September 11, 2012 at 5:44 am

    All of that to protect the world from drug dealers? Man, they can really shovel the shit.

  2. Alex
    September 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

    About the Infiniband technology and the associated fiber optic connectors and cable. This is got to be one of the biggest shams in the communications industry as I can attest to this from a manufacturing perspective. I used to work for a company for which I will leave nameless that created their own fiber optic cable, both single and multi-mode types and let me tell you the amount of mark-up that goes into that stuff is horrendous. It’s actually cheaper to create the fiber optic cables these days over copper and aluminum plenum cabling. As well as the specialized transceivers that encode and decode the data streams in analog wavelengths. Yes, that’s right, I said analog, well over 98% of the data communications even the fiber optic systems use various forms of differential analog. If you don’t know why, please do look it up for digital and analog transmission mediums and what draw-back digital signalling has on distance / long runs of cables or at very high speeds.

    The other problem is this, just because you get say, 150 GBps, that doesn’t mean your applications running over the network actually will achieve 150 Gbps all the time, there are other signalling problems to worry about running at that speed.

    Another problem is the bus style and signalling on that inside the computers themselves, most cannot handle a massive barrage of data on average or at peak bandwidth. As far as those Cray Supercomputers are concerned, it’s great marketing but the numbers don’t actually match in real world tests.

    Sorry, Cray Research!

    In any case, this article is very well written and many of us do appreciate your work and this website.

    By the way, you needn’t use multi-petaflop computers to crack codes and ciphers, there is a much more economical way to do it and it can be done fast too.

    NSA using this for code cracking? Really? Hmm, some how, I don’t think so. Although, I won’t get into what they are really using it for. :) Use your imagination!

  3. November 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

    According to William Binney, the NSA’s Utah building may be used for nefarious purposes. A good contract for HCA and another place of employment for some Utah workers though.

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