1,000 Million Meters of Underwater Cable Are Responsible for That Have Internet at Home

In efforts to make disappear the physical wiring us around, either with short distance – WiFi, Bluetooth – wireless connectivity, or with mobile phones and satellites, we must not forget that the cables are very present in our communications, they are too necessary. Where are they? Because most help us to transport data between continents, slicing through the sea bottom.

International calls, messages that we send, and transmissions that occur on the Internet run by those submarine cables We have a little present, since they are not in sight, nor tend to be news. 99% of transoceanic communications are performed out there, getting a speed up to eight times greater than which is expected with the satellite network.

No, the majority of communications with the point farthest from the planet are not made by satellite, depart from the beach

I could not tell the exact number, I also found it too updated, but according to the latest data that are managed, there should be at least a million kilometers submarine cables circling the planet (Builtvisible says that 1.092.658 km).

Virtually all continents and major islands are connected by the network infrastructure underwater, connecting the different economies of the planet. If no one has solved over the last few weeks, we should be the offside to Antarctica.

It won him the pulse to the satellite

Modern make it seem the communication satellite, submarine cables began to win him the match with the appearance of the optic fiber. Wiring new technologies made it possible to transmit large amounts of data with very low latency.

We must also take into account the total distance to be carried out by the data. Circumference measures about 40,000 kilometers, and about 9,000 kilometers is the distance between two points that need to be well connected as Japan and United States. Cover this stretch with fiber cable is always a route shorter than the distance to a satellite, which is usually above the 36,000 kilometers (information has to go up and down, is double that of travel).

Another aspect in which the cable shows as a more interesting solution has to do with with the resistance to inclement weather. Satellite Typhoon, even rain, can annoy you while the cable rests “quiet” on the seabed, and is positioned as a faster and more reliable infrastructure.

150 years under the sea

We have to go to 1866 to meet the first transatlantic cable. Telegraph cables which lasted between 60 and 70 years in operation until it reached the telephone cable (1956). The next major change came in the 1980s with the deployment of optical fiber. We tried to make the situation of the fiber in Spain in this article.

I recommend you go through the web of TeleGeography, they have an interactive map in which we can see the cables that exist in the planets (updated to 2015).

Also I invite you to go through the map that has built the people of builtvisible. We can move from 1984 until the year 2017, seeing how it changes the wiring, selected companies, etc..

The process of placing wires has not changed much in 150 years, boats that cross the sea slowly unwinding the wiring until it rests on the bottom. Obviously cables are now thin and manageable, and there is technology to be able to do it all with greater guarantees, even you can play with burying the wires.

If the depth is less than 1,000 metres, the cable is usually bury

In shallow areas should be careful with contact with boats, also with the ecosystem living there: places where rest the fish, coral reefs. Wires in these areas, buried or not, tend to be larger diameter, to resist when some mobile element collide with them.

You may ask how to bury those cables, maybe with a kind of plough from the sea bottom. A part works as a hoe that creates a Groove where you will unwind the cable, then the own maritime power is responsible for recap.

At 8,000 meters depth

Complications came with depth. In the seabed we find the same that on the surface: mountains and depths, ultimately, complicated areas, under conditions very different from work. For this there should be a prescan to decide the route, using very sophisticated technologies.

16 km of cable while get to deposit it in the background

The deepest point in which there is a cable of this type is the Japan trench, where there is resting a network at a depth of 8,000 meters. Like Mount Everest, but under the ocean.

Actually the cable must be quite longer than that depth at the time of their placement, since the boat is in motion dropping cable, and the angle that forms with greater depth point makes cable arrive measuring 16 km.

Deploy a cable of Japan to United States take several months, if we take into account the entire scanning process we go above two years.

The cables that rest on the shore or near to them are more protected

The enemies of the cables

Fix a wire which is into these depths is not nothing simple, you can not download to fix it there, but rises to the surface the piece to repair. It is done with a kind of hook, and in dry area working in join or fix the damage, in a very expensive process in time – a week – and money, since not ya que no hay there are too many boats that carry out this work.

Each year occur between 100 and 150 cuts undersea cables

Among the culprits are environmental accidents, anchors from boats, or even fish. Marine animals can be eaten – sharks – coating, attracted by magnetic fields. Fortunately new cable designs include this problem.

The cases most complicated known are related to earthquakes. In 2006 one with magnitude 7.0 broke eight cables in the Taiwan area, severely affecting communications in China. A total of eleven ships were 49 days working in the repair.

Speaking of earthquakes, they are incorporating movements in the seafloor recognition systems, that it can lead to something more complicated. Taking into account that originated there, and the speed with which the cable can alert of what is happening, they can give us great leeway to prevent situations in cities.

The thefts are not a major cause malfunction of an as strategic communications network – less with the change to the fiber-, but the reality is that countries nor specially protected cables.

How is the cable?

We think that those cables are incredibly thick, but do not, have more or less the size of a human arm. Not much more space is required to propose a protection for the fiber optic cables, which can be seen in two formats in the following image.

White – 17 mm wide – is intended for deep areas, black, for areas close to the shore, and is protected by steel. I can’t find a better way to show how it is on the inside, and its protection with the following image:

1 polyethylene
2 – Type Mylar tape
3 steel braided cables
4 aluminum which serves as a barrier against water
5 polycarbonate
6. aluminum or copper tube
7. a water protector called Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
8. the fiber optic

┬┐How much information It can be transmitted by cable? The order of 3,840 gigabits per second, or what is the same 102 DVDs in that short period of time, all thanks to a fiber optic wire. If we take into account that a cable there are eight pairs of fiber yarns, we can go to 1,700 DVDs per second, above the 60 terabits.

If there appears to be level enough to support the needs of the network of networks, it is not a stagnant technology, there is a promising future for the optical fiber. But neither get rid of security problems, as we have tried on occasion. You can more information in this article from The Atlantic.

New investments

According to TeleGeography, the new cable network has increased by 44% from 2013 to 2014, with a bandwidth of 65 terabits per second. Particularly relevant is the creation of “private” cables, half of them create routes for big tech companies.

Get best prices so pulling the infrastructures of companies specializing in telecommunications. These private networks grew by 66% between 2009 and 2014, relative to com the expansion of the “public” who did so in a 42%.

Do not stop get major investments from large companies in recent years. Google it invested 300 million dollars in cables in the Pacific – also invests in Brazil with United States – join, Facebook He did the same in the same area.

I recently reported on the movements of Microsoft, that you even want to carry under the sea data centers: Project Natick. As for Governments, it seems not easy that they reach an agreement on the use, as it is the case of the United States with the European Union.