Aug 9, 2013

This Is What an Undersea Data Cable Actually Looks Like

When they're not being tapped by the NSA or severed by criminals, undersea cables have to cope with some pretty traumatic conditions. High pressure salt water isn't the friend of any communication link, and that's before you even think about geological shifts and other undersea activity.

So the deep-sea lines that let you watch cat videos from the other side of the world are heavily reinforced to ensure that internet outages are the exception rather than the rule. Essentially that means a lot of steel reinforcing, a whole heap of polymer shrouding, and a dash of copper shielding. Get through all of that and lurking there, just in the middle, are a few precious glass fibers that carry your data.

It might seem like overkill, but it really is worth it: When one was damaged in Myanmar earlier this year, the country's bandwidth instantly plummeted. More here.

1 comment:

YeamieWaffles said...

This is so cool, really awesome to see what one of these looks like in the flesh.