Courtesy: Microsoft

Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius Underwater Cable

Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius complete the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic

In a fast-growing world of technology, many people rely on the internet to carry on with daily activities ranging from surfing the internet, bank transfers and even managing air travel logistics. However, only a few understand that the connectivity is provided by subsea networks. Sadly, these networks are susceptible to both manmade and natural disasters such as the hurricane which recently affected Houston. To improve data online performance globally, there has been a consortium agreement between Microsoft, largest networking site, Facebook, and telecommunications company, Telxius to provide underwater cable and highest capacity transatlantic data cable.

Marea is the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic, providing up to 160 terabits of data per second.

The cable built by these three companies is 4000-miles-long and spans from Virginia to Spain, sitting 17000 feet submerged in sea level. Microsoft attests that the cable can transfer up to 160 terabits of data per second. This is quite an impressive speed, given that this is 16 times faster than the internet connection provided in homes (which can be cut short by inevitable hurricanes). Back in 2012, the terrible flood experience knocked off servers and disrupted internet connection across diverse sectors, leading to a huge loss in billions of dollars in damages and disrupted communications that connected some of the notable world’s largest economies.

On a personal level, affected individuals of the traumatic experience wanted to reach their relatives abroad to inform them of their safety after the news was made public but couldn’t, because there was no connectivity. It was only then, that the importance of these networks was felt.

This move by Microsoft in collaboration with Facebook and Telxius is a step to improve the resilience of internet infrastructure for organizations and people who rely on digital services for their daily needs and more importantly, prepare for another major crisis that could hold connectivity hostage. It was a team effort by the trio to design a suitable cable to global connectivity which can stand the inevitable natural disasters or any other major event to cause connection havoc. Notably, it is the first subsea cable which will connect regions in two continents, (Virginia and Spain).

In addendum, with the large bandwidth, there is a convenient path created by the cable to network hubs in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to meet the demand for cloud services and internet access. There is no doubt that this innovation is a laudable project. It’s more like a protection cover or like a preparation for unborn private companies for future infrastructure. Coupled with the open system, the cable is designed to admit new technology for future users of the internet, thereby making this innovation the most laudable project of our time.

From design through construction, Marea was completed in less than two years — nearly three times faster than the typical subsea cable project.

Notably, the cable has inherent features to protect the hardware from underwater conditions such as fishing or boating traffic. With a slightly thick cable which contains eight pairs of fiber optic cables, which also have protections of copper, plastic layer, and waterproof coating, the cable is highly secured and is susceptible in no way to devastating underwater conditions such as volcanoes and earthquakes.

The underwater cable and highest capacity transatlantic data cable project comes at a very crucial time when there is huge dependence on international data transfer between countries and a heavy reliance on smartphone usage for easy communication for personal and business reasons. Most importantly, there is now a protection against inevitable natural disasters that disrupt connectivity.

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