Submarine cable involves a process of laying physical core cable, which carries hundreds or thousands of fiber optic strands, on the bottom of the ocean floor. Submarine cable is a transmitter-receiver communication system which connects to other cable systems or to land-based receiving stations.
An Anglo-French Telegraph Company, operated by John Watkins Brett, laid the first submarine cable in 1850. Many technological advances since then have linked countries into the telecommunication and Internet network.
Convenience and Linkage
Many third-world countries and isolated continents have benefited from the use of submarine cable. They once had to rely on land-based systems and satellite transmissions. No limits exist for the length of cable which can be laid to link up other countries and remote islands.
The application of submarine cable has positively increased the amount of bandwidth flow, allowing huge communication transmission through single cable networks that can instantly carry terabytes of information. The introduction of submarine cable into the isolated and third- world country locations, has reduced the cost of communication access and stimulated increased economic growth.
Satellite operation and linkage, as of 2006, only provided about 1 percent of international communication traffic, while undersea cable accounted for the remainder of information flow in the global network. Submarine cable is less prone to static or electromagnetic disturbance, as is the case of satellite communication systems.
Submarine cable is buried in seafloor trenches, or encapsulated in heavy conduit along the seafloor bed, where it cannot be affected by land-based interruption or physical contact failure. The protective sheathing used to wrap cable resists saltwater intrusion, marine life encrustation and can withstand shifting and flexing forces, giving it a physical longevity that can last for decades.
Submarine cable contains multiple path flow technology which allows a land-based system to detect any breaks or damage in the system, affording precise location of any failure and quick repair. In the event of a partial break, the remaining fiber optic strands can continue to transmit and receive information, thus avoiding a complete system breakdown. Due to the speed processing of transoceanic submarine cable, which has carrying capacities in the terabytes per second range, as opposed to the megabytes capacities of satellites, information moves more rapidly, including self-monitoring temperature and pressure readings.
Submarine cable has a negligible impact on marine environments in proximity to cable placement. The sampling of sediment cores around cable, and areas where cable has been permanently removed, showed that the abundance of marine life and organism diversity was not significantly affected.
Placement of the cables showed that they served as attachment points for many marine crustaceans, such as anemones and star fish–marine creatures that could not grow successfully in soft-sediment seabeds. Improvement in cable technology has reduced instances of marine life entanglement, such as incidents involving whales. The newest cables have coil-resistant features, lessening the chance of winding and entrapping marine mammals.