Submarine Cables – The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Welcome to today’s FAQ guideline for Submarine Cables.

Today’s FAQs will give you a full depth of information regarding Submarine Cable, their types, material, uses, advantages, etc., that shall answer all your queries regarding it.

So, let’s dive into it!

1. What is Submarine Cable?

A marine cable that is found underwater is called a “Submarine Cable.”

These cables are used mainly for communication purposes as it can transmit the signal instantly. It has been regarded as the best cable for telecommunication.

The idea was given in 1996, and the construction started in 1997 and was completed in 2000.

The submarine cable is very tough and durable.

It has proved its reliability through excellent performance. All of this is because of the excellent quality materials it is made with.

Moreover, it is covered with superior quality protective layers to leave no risk of damage.

It is a very thick cable that provides a large amount of current to flow.

  • Polyethylene
  • Mylar Tape
  • Steel wires
  • Aluminum water barrier
  • Polycarbonate
  • Copper tube
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Optical fibers

Honest Cables never compromise on their quality and uses these fine materials to provide its customers the best.

2. What Is Submarine Cable Joint?

Cable joints are used to connect different types of voltage cables.

Submarine cable joints provide electrical insulation and mechanical support.

It acts as a barrier and protects the submarine cable against stress and tension or any other kind of damage.

 Submarine cable joint

Submarine Cable Joint

Before installing these cable joints, they are subjected to:

  • Pressure Test
  • Insulation Test
  • Ultrasonic and Radiographic weld inspection

These tests are done to assure the durability, toughness, and endurance of the joint.

Made with fine quality material and installed with great precision and professionalism, these submarine cable joints guarantee your submarine cable’s safety.

3. How Are Submarine Cables Installed?

The submarine cables are installed by using a boat called “Cable layers.”

This process of installation is very tedious.

But before that, several tests are performed on the cable to ensure it works perfectly.

The worker is given professional training and has to work several hours to achieve accuracy and perfection.

It starts by connecting one end to the landing station and the other end to the cable-layers.

Then slowly and accurately, these cables are laid on the seabed.

 Installation of submarine cables

Installation Of Submarine Cables

4. What Is The Longest Submarine Cable?

SEA-ME-WE3 is the longest submarine cable. It is a Fibre-optic type cable.

The name stands for South-East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 3, which means that it links all these regions, making it the longest submarine cable.

 SEA-ME-WE3 linking the regions

SEA-ME-WE3 Linking  The Regions

It is about 39000 kilometers long.

The construction was started in 1997 and completed in 2000.

Since then, it has been upgraded and improved several times all these years.

It has 39 landing points in 4 continents and 33 countries.

5. What Is Submarine Cable Landing Station Equipment?

The submarine cable landing station includes:

  • Cable Terminal Box (CTB):

As it is obvious from the name that CTB terminates the submarine cable.

It connects the optical fibers and optical fiber patch cables to the optical distribution frame of the station.

It divides the cable into:

  • Optical Cable
  • Electrical Cable
  • Power Feeding Equipment (PFE):

It provides a constant high voltage current to the submarine cable.

  • Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE):

It is responsible for modulation and transmitting high speed and high-frequency signals all over the submarine cable.

  • Network Protecting Equipment (NPE):

The suitable transmission uses network protecting equipment.

When the submarine cable fails in an operation, NPE is automatically activated to continue or restore the operation.

  • Line monitoring equipment (LME):

LME monitors the working status of a submarine cable to assure the smooth transmission of signals.

Moreover, it immediately identifies the fault(s) in the cable.

  • Network management equipment (NME):

NME is used for the live monitoring of submarine optical cable. It consists of

  • System supervisory equipment (SSE)
  • Computer portable terminal (CPT)

SSE & CPT are used to monitor NPE.

 Equipment of submarine landing station

Equipment of Submarine Landing Station

6. Who Owns Undersea Cables?

When undersea communication companies were introduced in the 1850s, telecom owners were the only provers of the undersea cables.

With time as these cables have gained recognition and success, many other private companies contributed to it.

It is owned by several big companies across the globe, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, etc.

Right now, Google is the biggest private owner of undersea submarine cables.

It has its share of 63,605 miles and owns 102362 km of the submarine cable.

7. What Is Submarine Communication Cable?

The communication cables laid underwater to carry all the transmission signals across the globe are submarine communication cables.

These cables are laid under the sea as a ship (called cable-layers) carries and lays them on the sea bed very slowly.

 Submarine communication cable

Submarine Communication Cable

The first underwater telecommunication took place in the 1850s.

Over the years’ improvements have been made for better telecommunication. It uses fiber optics technology.

Submarine communication cable is a versatile and valued cable that has gained a lot of recognition over the years that now it carries almost all kinds of data across the globe.

The obvious reason is its durability, toughness, and longevity.

It is not easily vulnerable to damage because it is made with the highest quality material.

8. What Are Submarine Cable Companies?

There are several companies that provide undersea submarine cables.

Honest Cable is one of the best manufacturers in China.

We focus on providing the highest quality cables and parts of cables whose quality speaks for itself.

As far as Undersea communication cables are concerned, we focus on perfectly laying of cables under the sea with great precision and accuracy.

For that purpose, we plan the outline first to leave no risk for any kind of damage.

Our cable itself is very tough and strong because it is made with the highest quality material as we never compromise on the material.

It can withstand any kind of damage, be it human or natural interference.

These tough and reliable cables are made under the supervision of professionals.

Our staff is given proper training, and several tests are performed to provide you with the finest quality cable.

Our cables are have proved to be very reliable, durable, and long-lasting.

9. What Is Submarine Power Cable?

A submarine power cable carries electrical power at high voltage under the sea.

It is a transmission cable that uses optical fiber technology.

Submarine power cable

Submarine Power Cable

The submarine power cable consists of these three parts:

  • Conductor:

Copper is used as a conductor. It is a half-filled orbital, which means it is the most stable element.

This makes it the best conductor as it carries an excellent amount of conductor.

However, sometimes aluminum is also used.

  • Insulator:

For insulation, Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) is used, which is great for providing protection against abrasion, roughness, or other environmental changes.

  • Protective layers:

Cables ≥ 52 kV are used for protection as they are covered with lead sheath, which is excellent in providing protection against moisture, corrosion, water intrusion, or hydrocarbons.

Other than that, submarine power cables use “Alternating Current” to provide excellent signals.

10. What Is The Largest (Private) Submarine Cable Owner?

Google is the biggest owner and investor of submarine cable.

It has invested around US$47 billion.

It has its own share of 63,605 miles and owns 102362 km of the submarine cable.

In 2019 google completed the Curie Cable (10,433 km in length), which gave it 1.4% of sole ownership.

Up till now, Google has invested in 16 submarine cables.

It has Partial ownership of 8.5% and Individual Ownership of 1.4%.

Submarine cables were owned by telecom providers in the beginning, but now it’s expanding with time.

After Google, Facebook, then Amazon, and Microsoft are in line.

But, for now, Google is the largest private owner of submarine cable and owns up to 120,000 km of cables in length.

Recently, on 31st July 2020, google introduced another “Grace Hopper” cable system.

 Submarine cables owned by google

Submarine Cables Owned By Google

11. What Is Submarine Optical Fiber Cable?

Submarine communication is a transmission cable that uses optical fiber technology to communicate signals around the world.

These cables use fiber optic cables.

Fibre Optics

 Fibre Optics

The fiber optics provide greater.

  • Better bandwidth
  • Better reliability
  • Better flexibility
  • Better cost

12. What Is Undersea Internet Cable Map?

Like other systems, the Internet is also powered by underwater submarine cables as submarine cables provide the fastest service.

These cables use Fibre optics technology to provide internet.

In today’s world, the Internet is the largest and most used network in the world, and all its signal transmissions take place through undersea submarine cables.

It uses electromagnetic waves to transmit the signal all around the world.

With time the Internet traffic has increased, and recent studies show that in 2020 it has reached 21 gigabytes per capita.

Undersea Internet cable map

Undersea Internet Cable Map

All big companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon, etc., use the internet to connect with their users and provide them their requested content.

Any damage in the internet signals can affect thousands of businesses, but to minimize the risk of any kind of damage, submarine cables are made with the highest quality material.

13. What Is Cable Landing Point?

The point where all the submarine cables land is called “Cable Landing Point” or “Cable landing Station.”

The cable landing point power the cable.

It provides a place to land for the Submarine landing terminal, which is responsible for modulation and transmitting high speed and high-frequency signals all over the submarine cable.

It also provides points for interconnection.

Other than that, Cable landing points’ owner must have the license for it.

It must provide global interconnection and evaluate the performance of the submarine cables.

The structure and management of CLS matter a lot as it has to manage large data traffic flowing through it.

Cable landing station

Cable Landing Station

14. How Are Undersea Cables Laid?

The undersea submarine cables are laid through a specialized ship called “cable-layers.”

The ship has the capacity of carrying 2000 km of cable.

It is a very slow and tiresome but a very crucial process at the same time.

So it begins by creating a map by a cable operator and deciding the best route for it.

 Laying of cables

Laying Of Cables

It starts by connecting one end of the cable to the landing point of the landing station.

From there, it extends to the sea.

The other end is connected to the ship as it slowly and carefully lays the cable on the flat sea bed so it won’t be harmed by the rocks or reefs.

A plow is used to make a trench on the sea/ocean bed where the cable is laid.

15. How Are Undersea Cables Repaired?

Usually, submarine cables are very tough and strong, but sometimes it gets damaged by some serious accident like an earthquake or disaster in the ocean.

  • First of all, the fault site is located by measuring the distance from the landing station. Then the ship is navigated by using differential GPS (an advanced form of GPS).
  • As the faulty area is identified, a tool attached to the rope is sent down there, where it cuts off the damaged part of the cable. And a “Grapnel” is used to grab the cut piece of the cable.

 Faulty Area

 Faulty Area

  • As the faulty area is recovered, many tests like optical and electrical are conducted to make sure that it has recovered completely.
  • As it is recovered, the ship searches for the other end of the cable and attaches the recovered piece to it. Tests are taken at both landing points to assure its recovery.

Jointing both the ends

Jointing Both The Ends

16. Why Do We Need Submarine Cable?

Submarine cables are extremely important for telecommunication around the world.

Almost 99% of data is transmitted through these cables as it links regions all around the world.

It makes global connectivity much cheaper than any other communication service like satellites.

It has proved its reliability and durability through its performance, and so many big companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, etc., depend on it for its market.

With its amazing speed, it has been proved the best telecommunication tool to exchange information across the globe as it makes instant communication possible.

It has become a great source of communication for shipping companies, trading, military, government, and the public.

So, to say, Submarine cables are needed for the daily functioning of society will not be wrong as they are the major backbone of the economy.

17. What Is Undersea Cable Security?

The data that undersea submarine cables carry is vulnerable to hackers as, during the manufacturing of these cables, some people secretly install a backdoor.

When investing in programs submarine cables, you must invest in its security too.

For that, cable landing points must be secured first.

Other than that, the companies themselves should make the infrastructure of the submarine cables better to avoid any risk of attack.

It must install virus or spies detecting sensors or program.

If any mischief is noticed, immediate action must be taken.

And to avoid that, only trusted suppliers should be verified for it.

Undersea cable security

Undersea Cable Security

18. What Is Submarine Internet Cable?

The submarine internet cable is a transmission cable that provides internet to the region.

It uses fiber-optic technology to provide the fastest service.

Internet is the largest and most used network in the world, and all its signal transmissions take place through undersea submarine cables.

All big and small companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix, etc., depending on the internet for their market. It uses electromagnetic waves to transmit the signal all around the world.

With time the Internet traffic has increased, and recent studies show that in 2020 it has reached 21 gigabytes per capita, which is 95 times more than that of 2005.

The companies that provide internet must make provide smooth internet connection in its region.

This can be made by using excellent material in the internet submarine cable.

Fiber optics technology is the backbone of the internet.

Any fault in the cable will result in slow browsing.

19. What Is Undersea Cable News?

According to the undersea cable news, a lot is going on involving these undersea cables:

Recently, China has been accused of trying to exploit these undersea submarine cables.

Moreover, it has been using these cables for spying on other countries.

On the other hand, Portugal is making arrangements to upgrade these undersea submarine cables.

20. What Is Submarine Cable Network Map?

Submarine cables are the most reliable, cheap, and fast way to connect the regions or networks.

It is made up of copper, which is the best conductor as it can conduct more current than any other element.

So the power is carried at an excellent speed by these cables.

Submarine cables have gained a lot of popularity and recognition in these years.

It was started in the 1850s, and now 99% of global communication takes place through it.

It is used by all kinds of people, be it, government, military, agencies, or even the simple public.

In the beginning, submarine cables were owned by telecom owners, but now many private owners have emerged, which have worked on expanding these cables.

For example, Google is the largest private owner of undersea cables.

Submarine cable network

Submarine Cable Network

21. What Are Types of Submarine Cables?

Submarine cables are divided into two types:

  • Un repeated Cables:

Un repeated cables are limited cables.

These are short length cables that cover short distances up to 500 km.

It costs much less because of the limited facilities it offers.

Pure silica core (PSC) optical fiber is used in it.

These cables are preferred for short routes as they don’t cost much.

Unrepatered Cable

Unrepatered Cable

  • Repeatered Cables:

Repeatered Submarine Cables are all those undersea cables that have some active repeaters.

These cables are used to Re-amplify, Re-shape and RE-time to regenerate then signals.

Unlike un repeated cables, these cables are expensive as they consume a lot of power and cover large distances

Repeatered cable 3Rs

Repeatered Cable 3Rs

22. How Do Submarine Cables Work?

Submarine cables use fiber optic technology for their work.

he data travels in the form of a laser, which travels very fast from one end to the other.

It uses Wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) to transmit multiple signals at a time.

The signals travel through thin glass fibers, which are covered with many protective layers.

Copper is used as a conductor, which provides current at a very fast rate.

Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) is used for insulation as it provides great protection against abrasion, environmental damage, and much more.

The transmission is monitored by the landing stations, which keeps a check on signals to avoid any inconvenience.

23. What Are Undersea Cables Made Up Of?

The undersea cables have layers of fibers and wires in concentric circles.

The fibers are wires protected through layers of insulation.

Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) is used for insulation as it is an excellent way to provide protection against any damage or environmental change.

The cables are thick near the shore, but as you go down, it gets thicker and thicker.

 Undersea cables parts

 Undersea Cables Parts

Other than that, the power material of this cable is “Copper,” which is the best conductor.

The fast transmission is possible through copper only as it provides the fastest flow of electrons.

24. Do The Marine Animals Harm The Cable?

Research is still being carried out to figure this out.

Some sources believe that fish bite has no effect on the cables.

The damage to the submarine cables is due to human activities.

However, most of the sources believe that fish bite can damage the undersea cable.

The bites of marine animals like a shark are pretty strong and sharp that penetrates the insulation, which results in cable failure as power doesn’t transmit them smoothly.

To avoid the risk, “Kevlar” is being built (a project by Google), which is a protective layer to provide protection against shark bites.

 Shark caught live biting off the undersea cable

 Shark Caught Live Biting Off The Undersea Cable

25. How Much Information Can This Cable Carry?

Undersea Submarine communication is the most effective, speedy, and cost-efficient way of carrying information.

Underwater Submarine carries almost 99% of the world’s data.

However, the capacity to carry information varies from cable to cable.

For example, Google can carry 60 Terabytes per second, and Reddit can carry 6000 bytes per second.

The cable carrying capacity can be measured by:

Lift Capacity:

Lit capacity identifies the capacity of cable which is available for use.

Potential Capacity:

Potential capacity tracks the maximum capacity of submarine cable with every fiber pair.

The Wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) used in undersea submarine cables allows 16 x 2.5 Gigabytes per second of information.

26. What Happens When Any Of These Cables Get Damaged?

Even though submarine cables are built very strong and tough, but sometimes they get damaged due to human or natural interference.

When an undersea submarine cable gets damaged due to an accident, the transmission of signals is affected as the same power is not delivered, due to which communication is delayed and lags a lot, and causes glitches.

Internet browsing becomes slower due to which big companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix, etc., are affected.

Repairing undersea cable

 Repairing undersea cable

Immediate actions must be taken to repair these undersea cables.

For that, the fault site is located by measuring the distance from the landing station.

Then the ship is navigated by using differential GPS (an advanced form of GPS) to the damaged site, where then the damaged site is cut, recovered, and then join.

The process of recovery can take up to 16 hours.

27. How Are Submarine Cables Better Than Satellites?

Undersea submarine cables have been proved to be better than geostationary technology.

The satellites, in comparison with submarine cables, are pretty slow as they have to cover a very large distance of 72,000 km of earth, so the communication is not so speedy and smooth.

Other than that, the fiber optic technology used in undersea submarine cables is much cost cheaper than satellite.

Satellite communication

 Satellite Communication

Moreover, it can carry much more data or signals than a normal satellite as its communication capacity is 1000 times more than that of the satellite.

The submarine cables have a more secure infrastructure than satellites.

However, the areas that do not have access to fiber optics use satellites.

These are mostly remote areas.

Satellite vs Submarine Cables

Satellite vs Submarine Cables

28. What Is the Life Expectancy of Submarine Cables?

The life expectancy of undersea submarine cables is 25 years.

Studies show that these cables can work for more than 25 years, but most of the time, they are discarded before their retirement because they are outdated as new cables are introduced.

New technology is introduced every now and then, so the previous cables are removed, and new cables with new technology are installed.

The previously retired cables either remain inactive on the seabed, or the ships recover them and position them on a new path.

The latter method is very cost-friendly and a great way to recycle old cables.

 Undersea cables Life Expectancy

Undersea Cables Life Expectancy


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