How the Internet Travels Across the Ocean

How the Internet Travels Across the Ocean

If you are a business owner, how much you understand the Internet and how it reaches your customers is very important. As it is a global system, you must ensure that your business has a strong internet connection. That is why you should understand the various cables that provide a fast and secure connection. The best ones are fiber-optic cables, but you should also know about submarine cables. They are essential, as they are the primary way to reach your customers.

Fiber-optic cables

The majority of intercontinental internet traffic travels over undersea cables. These cables use fiber optics to carry information from one continent to another.

There are hundreds of undersea cables worldwide. Most of them are privately owned, while a small percentage are government controlled. This allows governments to manipulate the network, and authoritarian regimes can influence the global network.

These undersea cables are essential to both consumers and scientists. They allow for fast and reliable data transmission between countries. As the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything grow in popularity, the need for high-capacity networks will continue to increase.

These undersea fiber-optic cables move information across the globe at breakneck speed. Some of the most recent lines can transmit 280 megabytes per second or even more. Despite their large capacity, these cable networks are vulnerable to damage.

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was installed in 1858. It connected Europe and North America with the aid of optical fibers. It took two minutes and five letters to deliver the first message.

The next generation of cables carried data and telephone communications. When the TAT-8 line was built in 1988, it transmitted 280 megabytes per second.

These undersea fiber-optic networks are in high demand as more businesses rely on cloud computing. In the past decade, American tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have acquired considerable ownership of undersea cables.

Many companies have formed consortia to develop a global network. However, the logistics of laying these cables can be complicated. For example, anchors dropped by fishing trawlers and sharks can easily damage the wires.

Many countries consider undersea cables to be critical infrastructure. They also see these networks as supporting scientific research. Nevertheless, undersea cables are understudied, and despite their importance, most of the world’s population is unaware of the vast network of these cables.

With the increase in global internet traffic, there will be more demand for new submarine cables. It is estimated that there are 380 undersea cables globally.

Submarine cables

When it comes to delivering Internet data internationally, submarine cables are the key. They connect the continents and transport data between countries. Aside from providing the Internet with speed and bandwidth, these cables also offer a backbone to support e-commerce and document sharing.

As we look to build new undersea cables, it is essential to understand how they work. There are many different types of wires in operation around the world. Some are made of copper; others are fiber optics. Typically, the cable’s outer layer prevents seawater from entering while the inner fiber transmits the data.

For the most part, submarine cables are safe from damage but are vulnerable to other kinds of damage. For example, anchors dropped from a boat can break the line. And sharks have been known to bite them.

The number of undersea cables is a staggering 380 as of this writing. These cables range in thickness from one centimeter to 20 centimeters.

While the amount of information transmitted over these cables is a mystery, a good guess is that about 80% of the world’s internet traffic travels over these cables. This is a significant portion of global interconnectedness.

Many companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, have invested undersea cables. Their investments are aimed at increasing Internet connectivity and resilience.

There are two major players in the undersea cable arena: the private and state-owned. State-owned firms include China Unicom, China Telecom, and CTM. Private firms have TE Subcom, an American incorporated company that builds cable equipment.

There are many reasons to be concerned about this aspect of modern Internet geopolitics. For example, the government has long tapped into private internet infrastructure. It is possible to manipulate the cables and the network management systems that control them.

In addition to economic coercion, governments can use the undersea cable to reshape the physical topology of the Internet. Despite its technical capabilities, the line is only a tiny part of the more extensive Internet.


The Internet travels over undersea cables, small copper and stainless steel tubes running across the ocean floor. They allow for data to move from continent to continent. These cables are vital for consumer shopping, government document sharing, and scientific research. However, they are also vulnerable to disruptions, which can cut off access to the Internet. For example, a blackout in February 2008 affected the Persian Gulf and a swath of North Africa. This was caused by damage to an undersea cable off the coast of Egypt. In addition to human error, sabotage by terrorists or other unauthorized parties can cause problems.

Governments control over 400 undersea cables worldwide, but only 19 percent of these. As a result, the global internet topology is shaped in part by the private sector. The US Department of State must pursue confidence-building measures against nation-states that disrupt or destroy submarine cables.

As more businesses turn to cloud computing and other technology that requires fast data speeds, the demand for undersea cables is expected to rise. This will need the construction of more lines and new routes for data to travel if the existing ones become compromised. Therefore, the United States should comprehensively study the undersea cables it controls. Also, the department should consider taking legal measures to protect the wires.

Despite the many benefits of the Internet, undersea cables need to be more appreciated and better understood. While they play a critical role in global Internet connectivity, authoritarian governments can also manipulate them. An international legal treaty to protect submarine cables is unlikely to be negotiated shortly. Instead, the United States should pursue the creation of a set of confidence-building measures that can be used in multilateral capacities. By doing so, the department will communicate its commitment to safeguarding the global Internet’s physical backbone.

As the global Internet is constantly evolving, so will its physical topology. The Department of State should thoroughly study the undersea cables that connect the world and take the necessary steps to safeguard them from a potential attack.

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