We believe data is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe 

Together with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) we relay massive amounts of data generated by the telescope to scientist, from one of the most remote locations on the planet, helping ALMA create a reliable digital network has given the scientific community real-time access to information. They can study how galaxies are formed, peering deeper into the mysteries of the universe.  

Why ALMA needs to connect its remote site to the world

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory needs to relay massive amounts of data generated by the telescope to scientists probing the mysteries
of the universe from one of the most remote locations on the planet.

ALMA is one of the most powerful scientific instruments in the world. However, the nature of the radio waves the telescope receives, requires it to be located at altitude in the dry air of the Atacama Desert in Chile. 

Located 5,000m above sea level, the thin air makes it hard for people to work at the Array Operations Site on a continual basis.
To cater for this, an Operations Support Facility is located 2,000m lower, yet 30km away from the main array. 

The facilities are connected via a high-speed fiber connection, while the Operations Support Facility is connected to ALMA’s Santiago Central Office. The entire network delivers huge quantities of data generated by the observatory to scientists across the world for analysis. With only a small technical team, this harsh environment creates a unique set of challenges.

A sharing icon

Which Services?

Technical Services,  Managed Network Services, Cybersecurity, Intelligent Infrastructure

A server icon

Which technologies?

Cisco (switching)

Hands shaking icon

Which partner?


What a high-availability, high speed network means for ALMA

The infrastructure managed for ALMA ensures data is available 24/7. As the demand for access grows, so does the partnership between ALMA and NTT.

ALMA is the benchmark in the next wave of networking and big data. The works completed on this project gives scientists reliable access to this scarce resource.

The operations center runs a fully virtualized network connecting the different sites. It powers the data center, consisting of 102 Cisco UCS blade servers in 12 chassis, all managed by NTT.

The partnership has strengthened further over the last seven years. The ALMA team relies on us to assist in planning for future upgrades and continuing growth in storage requirements.

‘In the future when I am retired and I see ALMA still producing data, I will know that I was a big part of what is there.’
Christian Saldias , ALMA, IT Manager 


To avoid interference, the best sites for collecting data are isolated and remote.


The data collected is digitized before being stored, making it easier to share.


The data ALMA collects is unique and therefore invaluable to the science community.


Weather extremes mean a robust network is critical.

An ALMA infographic