Most customers these days are also on products that mux across these cables. So, if your Trans-Atlantic cable has two simultaneous outages, your traffic would automatically route itself across the Pacific. Your latency would go up, but your service would continue.
When I was there, construction was beginning on SMW-4, which had the dubious honor of being the first billion dollar cable. They are typically incorporated via international treaties between states and companies that are roughly about 100 pages long. Each partner has to cover maintenance on the part between the main cable and their drop, while everyone chips in on the main part.
It really is fascinating; outages are typically caused by boat anchors close to shore or large earthquakes. Once a guy in Hawai'i cut the Southern Cross wire with a pair of clippers while doing yardwork.
There dedicated people, equipment and networks just to track these offenders, as the telecoms obviously want to work out who to send the bill onto once they've fixed the cable, or which insurance company ;)
I know of a company that did this on a regional network - ring physical layout. Only to discover that murphy's law never fails to deliver and the SLAs suffered as a result. They switched to multiple interlocking rings soon thereafter.
That said, we've had folks take sniper shots at power substations in California, which can cut power to big chunks of real estate.
"But in 1866, the Old and New Worlds were united by the successful laying of a cable across the Atlantic. John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement -- the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century. An epic struggle, it required a decade of effort, numerous failed attempts, millions of dollars in capital, a near disaster at sea, the overcoming of seemingly insurmountable technological problems, and uncommon physical, financial, and intellectual courage."
Great story about the internet's adolescence.
Equator at 40,075km / 209,855km/s=0.19s (saw a Stack Exchange question about speed of light in optical fibre slows light 30%).
And for satellites 35,000km / 299,792km/s=0.12s but I'm sure air, humidity, big balls of floating water aka clouds, solar radiation just weather in general must make it far worse I've seen mentions of typical latency of 0.25s.
But most cables are not 40,000km long I don't know what the longest cable is of the typical length probably 20,000km max that would give 0.09s latency and for 10,000km 0.05s.
Edit: Also, it's written by Neal Stephenson for whatever that's worth.
I consider it my small contribution to the world to make sure as many nerds as possible get to read that story.
Kevin Kelly maintains a great list at http://kk.org/cooltools/best-magazine-articles-ever. Apparently he likes David Foster Wallace...
Fantastic bit of journalism.
Edit: this is what it actually gives you as an answer in that article:
"The answer has to do with slack control. And most of what is known about slack control is known by Cable & Wireless Marine. AT&T presumably knows about slack control too, but Cable & Wireless Marine has twice as many ships and dominates the deep-sea cable-laying industry. The Japanese can lay cable in shallow water and can repair it anywhere. But the reality is that when you want to slam a few thousand kilometers of state-of-the-art optical fiber across a major ocean, you call Cable & Wireless Marine, based in England. That is pretty much what FLAG did several years ago."
"Beyond 1500 meters from the shoreline, builders typically lay unarmored cable directly on the seabed ... a few reach depths greater than 8000 meters."
1. There more connections between USA and UK than to non-english speaking European countries.
2. Venezuela is the only country connecting Cuba.
3. Brazil connects with Cape Verde island and will connect with Angola, another portuguese-speaking country. Those will be the only connections crossing south Atlantic.
4. Southern Asia connects to Europe circumventing the Middle East by connecting to Egypt and then crossing the mediterranean.
With that book in hand (and I don't know how many copies were actually made) any resourceful bad guy could knock off about 60% of Brazil's phone and data network.
Reminds me of an instance in 2009. I was working in Santa Cruz, CA. I was configuring some of our servers remotely, when suddenly I lost internet connection. The whole office was out. VoIP was down - no signal on my cell phone as well. I went to the front desk and tried the land line. No dial tone.
This was weird.
I saw a few people from other offices milling about the courtyard. I went outside. They were all experiencing the same thing. A few of us went to Starbucks. Couldn’t buy coffee because their registers were down.
At this point, people were starting to leave their offices in droves. Santa Cruz PD actually began to have a few officers walk around the area, since no one could make phone calls.
The only thing that worked was Verizon cell phones. These were being passed around so people could make calls (data did not work however).
All in all, this lasted about 6 hours.
This was caused by a single frustrated former ATT employee. He just went in and clipped some fiber lines and left.
At least this is my experience with pharmacy billing. If we couldn't put claims through due to network problems, we'd just estimate based on your previous claims and keep things humming along.
The register - I speculate - is also tracking inventory. Ring up two cappuccinos and a pastry, corporate keeps track and knows what and when to re-order.
Getting the inventory out of whack might be worse than loosing trade during the outage.
I worked in places that made it difficult even for employees with a need to know to access network data and locations of wan fiber connections. Half the time, the cables are clearly marked on the street -- in New York, you call 611 and a team of people will draw on the street the locations of all telecom, electric, water, sewer and other infrastructure right on the street for you.
And four cables connect Alaska to the lower 48? I wonder why.
The Capital City Weekly has a good article about the recent incident, which also includes a short history of communication cables in Alaska . Basically a few companies built seabed cables in southeast during the dot com boom, and then there was too much capacity for a while. One company went bankrupt and another company attempted to buy all the capacity, but concerns about a monopoly prevented that deal from going through. Now when there's an outage, companies can lease access from each other until the broken cable gets repaired.
The currents in our coastal channels are significant, with 8-12 foot tidal swings. Those currents, combined with the silty and rocky nature of the ocean floor in much of southeast, makes for a pretty abrasive environment. Add to that a lot of bottom fishing and anchoring, and cables get broken.
As a resident of southeast, I'm happy for the redundancy!
Cost estimates for terrestrial cable are harder to come by, and seem depend a lot on things like rights of way (likely not relevant here as a cost), terrain (_very_ relevant), ability to get equipment to the right location, etc. But the numbers I'm seeing on various links from https://www.google.com/search?q=cost+of+laying+fiber+optic+c... are in the $20k to $40k range per kilometer (I took the actual numbers I saw and divided by 1.6) about 5-10 years ago. Figure about 1.4x smaller if you want to adjust for inflation to compare to '90s numbers.
All of which is to say that "zillion" in this case is probably a number somewhere between 1 and 4. Give or take; these are all estimates, obviously. Also not clear to me which is faster to lay, by the way, which might matter in terms of deciding which one to do.
Not to mention that the undersea cable might be shorter, offsetting some of the per-km difference in cost, since it's a lot easier to go straight.
"electrical current in the fiber-optic" but not copper?
Interesting on the return path. Where does the source connect i.e. one side of the "battery" goes to the amplifier (which returns to the sea, not the battery) and the other side of the battery goes to where? the sea?
The only difference I can think of is that the amplifier power is probably a steady DC (and corresponding magnetic field) whereas the signal in copper will be varying voltages - creating a fluctuating magnetic field that repels the sharks ?
curl http://a.tiles.telegeography.com/maps/submarine-cable-map-2014/6/\[0-9\]/9.png -o row09_column0#1.png
curl http://a.tiles.telegeography.com/maps/submarine-cable-map-2014/6/\[10-63\]/9.png -o row09_column#1.png
curl http://a.tiles.telegeography.com/maps/submarine-cable-map-2014/6/\[0-9\]/\[10-54\].png -o row#2_column0#1.png
curl http://a.tiles.telegeography.com/maps/submarine-cable-map-2014/6/\[10-63\]/\[10-54\].png -o row#2_column#1.png
echo "Creating montage"
montage -mode concatenate -tile 64x *.png final_map.png
Speaking for my company, I buy these each year because A) It looks great framed in our lobby and B) I want to support continued development of such things.
When you compare them to actual fiber maps, they are accurate mostly in the general sense and not all that useful for planning specific routes anywhere.
By the way, this is a nice one. Happy to see that I can scroll indefinitely in one direction.
If only a single cable break occurs, every point is still reachable from every other point -- the worst thing that happens is that ping times might increase because the packets will have to travel a longer route.
This layout is called a self-healing ring: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-healing_ring
If we take the TAT-14 example again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TAT-14#mediaviewer/File:Map_TA...
How will the ping times not increase dramatically from Bude (UK) to Saint-Valery-en-Caux (FR) if the connection between them breaks?
So the capacity is really based on the equipment at either end (and repeaters if required), the cables can degrade overtime due to hydrogen impregnation and damage from ships etc... your also limited by distance before you need to repeat, however basically there will be newer and faster hardware on the market every day meaning there is no way to work out the total capacity.
I've seen unrepeated short span submarine cables only lit/working at 10Gbps, the equipment at either end can support substantially faster (100Gbps+) with some small hardware changes, however simple business sense means your only going to provide capacity for what your customers are only demanding.
Prices are also more relational to the traffic going over them cables (and demand) rather than the distance, for example it can be cheaper to get from London to New York on one of these cables than it is to get around the UK.
for the patch panels they can't get to, there's always the covert submarine they are purported to have.
Just that the cost to intercept all that must be staggering.
Their strategic location as a middle of everything - plus their willingness to exploit it by providing the services.
In this case, the truth is that anyone who has the capability to disrupt these cables already knows where they are. But that isn't necessarily intuitively obvious. This is a reminder to all of us that we shouldn't blindly trust intuition, but should try to find numbers or other hard data to back it up.
in all seriousness: I would love to understand your reasoning behind this.