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Submarine cabling. The core of our global connectivity

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Having in mind that more than 70% of Earth’s surface is covered with the oceans, we can ask a question – how we wired our planet to allow global connectivity? For most of the time we use Internet services – doesn’t matter where in the world, we assume there is a way to establish a connection (which is not exactly true, of course). Internet – for good – seems to be a part of our reality right now. In developed countries we cannot imagine proper living without the Internet services, the same way as we think about water availability or electricity. Honestly, the things are not so easy, even if we don’t see how much effort is required to provide all these goods worldwide. So, if we would like to see where the most important cables are placed, there is a good reference available on the web…



TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map – a website which provides all the answers about underwater cables which link the continents. Really, very useful and interesting stuff. What’s more – these resources are available on-line for free! TeleGeography is taking the required data from Global Bandwidth Research Service and updates its map on regular basis.

 

How undersea cables are laid - a video presented on SeacomLive YouTube channel

 

Using the World’s map we can select a cable on the map projection or from the submarine cable list to see cable’s profile, including the cable’s name, ready-for-service (RFS) date, length, owners, website, and landing points. Additionally, we can:

  • View a list of all cables connected to a specific country.
  • View a list of all cables connected to a specific landing point
  • View a list of all cables that came online in a specific year
  • Share data from the map

According to Telegeography’s website, cables shown on the map include international and US domestic submarine cables with a maximum upgradeable capacity of at least 5 Gbps. Cable routes are stylized to improve readability, and do not reflect the physical cable location. Similarly, cable landing stations do not show the precise coordinates of the building, and are meant to serve as a general guide to where a cable system lands. So, as we can see – we can learn a lot and at the same time we can be sure about proper information security guarantees (let’s agree that the bad guys cannot easily harm actual building where the cable landing station is located).

 

Telegeography's underwater cables map for the European region which currently interests me the most – Poland and our neighbours

 

Also, what is really worth to be underlined, TeleGeography has made the source code behind its interactive Submarine Cable Map available online! More information is available on the company’s website.

 

An old video about laying underwater cable in San Fransisco Bay, USA - as presented on Ebin Linson Issac YouTube channel

 

I believe this is a very useful resource – especially today, when we almost blindly glorify cloud computing concepts, expect higher and higher bandwidths with lower and lower prices for our connections… Thanks to that map we can remind ourselves that there are still physical links between continents required all the time and, of course, these can be provided only with the usage of underwater cabling. Almost the same way like in XIXth century.

 

The Eastern Telegraph Co.: System and its general connections. Chart of submarine telegraph cable routes, showing the global reach of telecommunications at the beginning of the 20th century (year 1901)

 

Besides, Telegeography’s website might be very useful for us, if we plan where to place our data center. It provides general information, but at least we can have good starting point for further analyses.

 

 

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