Did you know? Most of the things you see on the Internet reaches you from underwater? Interestingly, 99% of all international data is passed through a labyrinth of cables that stretch across the floor of the world’s oceans. These cables are called  submarine communications cable.  They are mainly laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across oceans and seas. In total, those cables are  hundreds of thousands of miles long and can be as deep as the hight of mount Everest.  Mind blowing right?

Fun Facts about telecommunication and submarine cables !

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  • “Norwegian Sky” was the first cruise ship that had an Internet cafe onboard when it debuted in 1999
  • Sharks are trying to eat the internet. In response, companies such as Google are shielding their cables in shark-proof wire wrappers.
  • Submarine communications cables are faster and cheaper than satellites.
  •  Antarctica is the only continent not wired to the Internet via submarine cables. Due to a sparse population and ice shelf movement up to 10 meters/year, it is a very challenging environment.
  • The first transatlantic communications cable was completed in the summer of 1858, running under the ocean between Ireland and Newfoundland. That cable took four years to build and lasted for less than a month.
  • Submarine cables have to withstand pressure of 8km of water on top of them, equivilemt of putting an elephant on your thumb.
  • Optical fibers of submarine cables are as thin as human hair.
  • Submarine cables are made of layers of fibre and wires covered in a protective layer to keep the ocean out.
  •  The whole network of submarine cables spans more than 550,00 miles
  • Errant anchor sometimes disrupt submarine cables causing internet outages to thw whole wide world.
  • In 2016, FASTER,  a trans-Pacific submarine communications cable went live and is 10 million times faster than a standard cable modem, with 6 fibre pairs, each carrying 100 wavelength at 100 gigabites per second, and a peak capacity of 50 terabites per second.
  • In 2006 there was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake off Taiwan that severed eight cables in multiple places, disrupting much of the Internet traffic to and from China. It took 11 cable ships a total of 49 days to complete the repairs.

Telecommunications and its further developments 

Technology has enabled the use of the Internet even at seas and across oceans. Today, the internet is easily accessable even when you’re onboard.  You can easily get connected to the internet via Wi-Fi whether you’re on a boat or flying across the ocean. Virtually, all seagoing cruise ships provide Wi-Fi connection for voyagers that is because the Internet connection onboard is made available through the use of satellites.

The major players in the telecommunication industry are making huge investments in communication infrastructures both on land, ships and in the air via satellites. As the satellite industry goes on further developing, more and more options will emerge that are more affordable for Internet users onboard.

It’s expected that in the upcoming years the improvements in the telecommunications industry will bring about more available options and solutions for travellers. Inflight Wi-Fi is already available by most airlines when flying overseas. And soon,  it is expected that most airline companies will provide free inflight Wi-Fi to all passengers. While cellular data  is not yet avaible in flights, it is believed that soon 5G will be available onboard too.

To sum up,  international calls, text messages and Internet transmissions,  all run through submarine wires and cables across continents at the bottom of the ocean.

Thinking of flying? Perhaps by plane or boat? Dont forget to download Pinngle Messenger to stay contected with family and friends while onboard. ✈🚢

Wardon Systems, Pinngle Team

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