Fiber Optics under the Atlantic
01/15/2001 6:40:00am Albuquerque, Nm
By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO
Alcatel lays Fiber under the Atlantic bridging the US with Europe.
For the past couple of years, increasing demand for the internet has grown, especially in Europe. This meant someone had to step to the plate and deliver the
much needed added capacity bandwidth to bridge the US with Europe. Alcatel continues to do this, not only under the Atlantic but also the much needed Pacific.
Alcatel is building the worlds first 80 Wavelength transatlantic optic system. 80 Wavelength is a breakthrough meaning added traffic per fiber meaning more bandwidth.
In fact, Alcatel has been growing so fast, they purchased their own 9 ship fleet to lay this cable under the ocean.
It all starts with months of planning, picking the best route to lay the cable by using Sonar to determine the best place on the ocean floor. They've been doing this for a while now, in fact Hurricane Floyd caught them and they
had to cut the cable, drop a buoy, and come back at a later time to reconnect it.
Alcatel starts at each shore, with plans to meet in the middle and connect the fiber optic cables. On a nice day without weather troubles they can lay 100 Miles of cable. The cable is so long, they sit a mile from the shore while they
reel it in to huge spools located under the ships' decks. Computer Engineers like myself plan out the details and where to place the regenerators for the DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) optics to strengthen the signals of
DWDM light carrying the data. Because of DWDM the need for regenerators is less and thus network costs are reduced. The previous transatlantic optic network ranged from 2.5 GBits - 10 Gbits. The new 80 Wavelength transatlantic optic network can support Terrabit speeds over a single fiber.
A Terrabit is exactly 1,024 GigaBits, or 1,024 times the speed or bandwidth of the current transatlantic optic network. Alcatel has sold portions of the Bandwidth to AT&T, Global Crossing, Cable and Wireless, and more. They have approximately 95% of the market for undersea transocean
Alcatel is certainly thinking of the future. Next time you access a site in Europe from the US, or from Europe to the US, just remember your traffic is sometimes a mile below the Atlantic, and the like for the Pacific Regions.