Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When you open up your laptop or switch on your tablet, rarely do we give a second thought to how we get online. While it may seem like the internet just ‘happens’, there’s actually a lot of advanced and important technology behind the World Wide Web.
Submarine communication cables, or sea cables as they are more commonly known, are wires that run across the seabed and allow for internet connection around the world. Without these vital cables, internet access would be limited to certain countries.
Of course, your basic broadband cable would not be able to withstand the conditions several feet under water. That’s why these clever sub-sea cables are made by specialists and, to ensure their success, are laid by expert companies like Fraser Hydraulics.
The cables are heavily shielded with copper, polymers and even steel, to guard the delicate fibre-optic cable that we’re so familiar with. With so many protective layers, it is unsurprising that these cables are extremely large and heavy.
Even with the best defensive methods in place, things can still go wrong. The Shetland Islands was one of the latest to suffer as a result of a break in their underwater internet cabling. According to The Shetland Times, a 300-metre section of the cable was damaged, leaving many of the island’s residents with no broadband connection.
There are thousands of these cables across the world – just take a look at this interactive map from TeleGeography. While many people may not be aware of them, they actually account for a large percentage of how our internet reaches us.
In fact, as more of us get connected, there is increasing demand for more of these cables. As Business Tech reports, Brazillian company Telebras has recently commissioned the laying of a new cable from South America to Europe, underlining just how important these cables are to our modern lives.