Wiring – Internet from the Sea

There is a book out there, which costs ~800 dollars, called: The History of Electric Wires and Cables (History of Technology Series) 1St Edition Edition by R.M. Black (Author)

Salute Mr or Ms Black…

It was written in ‘83, and I wonder how thing have changed since then and what  the author would have written about the wired world today. Imagine 1983 with clean desks, pens, notepads, carbon paper…  think 2003, every desk with a desktop PC… and  then 2013 hot desk offices, everything wireless…

Where did this all start?

Submarine Cables

 I love this site (https://www.submarinecablemap.com/) shows you all the submarine communication cables, these are cables on the sea floor. Think there are a couple of wires down there? Check this out:

Submarine Cable Map


Sea floor cables stretch back to 1851 when the English Channel Submarine Telegraph Company laid the first water-resistant thermoplastic coated line across the English Channel. 46 kilometers long, going from the English South East to France, enabling telegraphic communication between these 2 countries on 15 October.

These cables are the network, the internet. Owned by different companies and governments, information transmission is huge business. There is an awesome article on Mentalfloss that talks about the challenges faced such as sharks (attracted to electromagnetic pulse) trying to eat these cables, ship anchors falling right onto the cable, and spies and saboteurs.

These huge cables head to “cable landing points” where they are powered on to final land based infrastructure. Several major cables terminate at Changi, Singapore (PANC, TIICSC, EAC-C2C). Often enough, many cable projects are skipping landing points and going straight to Data Centers.

So What Happens Next?

The cables break up into many smaller fiber optic lines that run about 100 kilometers at a time, at least 3 feet underground (but typically much deeper) and hits “termination points”.  For example the little fiber point in your home where your router is plugged into for home WiFi, or for buildings it typically ends at a Main Distribution Frame room, where the cables break out further and travel to Wireless Access Points giving out that office WiFi signal or, they land on desks as LAN cables you’d traditionally plug into your laptop.

And that is how the internet travels to you.


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