The development of the global Internet infrastructure continues to evolve, no matter what. Over the past few months, several large companies have announced the launch of large-scale projects for laying underwater Internet backbones. The length of new Internet cables is thousands and thousands of kilometers, but the reliability of the global network continues to increase.
True, sometimes some areas undergo peculiar stress tests. So it was, for example, with the eruption of an underwater volcano near the island state of Tonga. Despite news in February that a damaged main near the islands had been repaired, the cables could not be fully repaired. About this and about new underwater Internet cables – under the cut.
What’s up with Tonga and its internet?
If you remember, in January, an underwater volcano erupted near the Kingdom of Tonga, followed by a tsunami. Natural disaster caused damage
which connects the islands of the kingdom with the rest of the world, as well as network infrastructure under water and on the islands themselves.
The government launched backup channels in the form of satellites, but throughput was low. To complicate matters, the cable was damaged by an earthquake near an underwater hill that protected it from the direct impact of the volcano. Perhaps, scientists say, powerful turbulent flows from water and sedimentary rocks arose in the near-bottom region.
A special repair ship was sent to the place of the cliff, which brought with it a “reserve” 80 km long. With the help of special equipment, the ends of the line were removed to the surface, after which they were repaired, connected and laid again on the bottom. This procedure was performed six times, and the $230,000 repeater had to be replaced as well. On the positive side, the ground station was not affected.
But there are also problems – the connection is not established between all the islands, the cable was literally torn to pieces, although they were quite long. In order to repair all this, the ship did not have enough spare cable, the missing part was ordered, but it can be delivered no earlier than six months later. All this time, some islands of the kingdom will remain without optical fiber, content with satellite communications.
In general, once again we are convinced that familiar things can become inaccessible in an instant – nature can throw out something unexpected at any moment. It remains only to wish the inhabitants of the islands to be in touch again as soon as possible.
Cable from Indosat in the Pacific Ocean with a length of over 18 thousand km
Indonesian telecommunications corporation Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison has partnered with cable builder and operator Inligo Networks. As part of this agreement, an 18,000 km cable will be laid that will link Southeast Asia and the United States. Indonesia has repeatedly expressed its desire to become one of the hubs for submarine cables, and it seems that it has moved from words to deeds.
The system, called the Asia Connect Cable System (ACC1), will provide a throughput of 240 Tbps. The cable consists of 40 optical fibers, each of which supports 40 frequencies. The cable will be laid through five cities in Indonesia, as well as Singapore, Darwin (Australia), East Timor and Guam (USA). From the latter, they plan to stretch two branches at once to the United States, the first to Portland and then to Tokyo, the second to Los Angeles.
The work is planned to be completed in 2024.
Meta’s investment and the multi-billion dollar economic impact of undersea internet cables
Corporations like Google and Meta are laying more and more cables all the time. And this not only improves the overall infrastructure of the global network, but also brings tangible profits to the regions that are connected to these cables. According to a study by Analysys Mason and RTI International, the new underwater infrastructure will increase the GDP of both the Asia-Pacific and European regions by about $600 billion by 2025. This is a huge amount even for the developed countries of this region.
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The study says that in Southeast Asia alone, GDP will increase by $422 billion, and the number of jobs in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, construction, service projects and everything else will increase by 3.7 million.
The problem for Asia is that many highways lie in regions with increased tectonic activity, which, as already shown in the example of Tonga, can lead to sad results. Plus, the number of cables is limited – most of the regional hubs are deployed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
Meta tries to differentiate the infrastructure and scale it. As a result of the laying of new cables, more and more communities are provided with stable communications. By 2025, the corporation plans to lay eight new cables at once.
Google is not far behind
Google plans to lay another submarine cable that will run under the Pacific Ocean, connecting Vancouver, Canada and Mie and Ibaraki in Japan. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2023. It is reported that the cable will consist of 16 fiber optic pairs with a total bandwidth of up to 240 Tbps. The technology is based on Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS), which improves the fault tolerance of the entire system.
According to the corporation, it will not solely use the cable, but will provide access to partners. It is worth noting that the discussion of this project has been going on since 2021, for the first time the question of it arose in June 2021. Like Meta, Google claims to improve the economic efficiency of the regions that connect to the new infrastructure. According to the analytical agency Analysys Mason, the combined GDP of these regions will increase by $303 billion.
An interesting nuance – Topaz will be the first trans-Pacific cable, which is laid on the west coast of Canada. This is one of the corporation’s 20 submarine cable projects. This list also includes Curie, Dunant, Firmina, Grace Hopper and Equiano. In total, these backbones connect 29 cloud regions in more than 200 countries and territories.
MTS works on rivers
The domestic telecom operator has completed the construction of the first fiber-optic communication line (FOCL) between Salekhard and Labytnangi. The laid cable made it possible to connect the northern cities of Yamal with the Komi Republic, plus create a digital infrastructure for the development of the Arctic. The bandwidth of the new channel is 100 Gbps.
A channel has been laid in order to ensure the fault tolerance of mobile and fixed networks in these areas. The length of the highway, of course, is much less than that of the transoceanic ones, only 25 km. But its significance for the local business community is very large. The canal was laid in just a couple of weeks.
The project began with a survey of the channel and the bottom of the river, then horizontal drilling was carried out, and then a special cable was laid, which is resistant to external loads and tension. Accordingly, the FOCL will not change position due to currents.
According to the operator, the new backbone improves the quality of voice communication, as well as increase the speed of mobile Internet access.