144,000 Gigabits, 8,000 Miles: Reading Up on the Pacific Light Cable Network

Internet Network

By Jayne MillerJan 12, 2018


The Pacific Light Cable is coming and it's going to break some records. IEEE Spectrum Magazine has a good article out about the "ongoing transformation of the submarine fiber-optic cable network" and how this cable is part of the puzzle.

We're also sharing stories about high-frequency trading, the facts behind attacking submarine cables, and Europe's broadband sector. 

Read up on all this in our reading picks for January.

Submarine Cable Goes for Record: 144,000 Gigabits From Hong Kong to L.A. in 1 Second

Why it’s worth your time: As this IEEE Spectrum Magazine article points out, when the new Pacific Light Cable Network becomes operational, it will break the record for data rate times distance.

"In a single second, its six fiber-optic pairs, stretching roughly 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles) between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, will be able to send some 144 terabits in both directions. That’s as much data as you’d find in several hundred Blu-ray discs," writes Jeff Hecht.

This post will only take 10 or 15 minutes of your time, and it includes lots of good info about why Google and Facebook need this new cable to keep up with demand—and the state of transoceanic transmission in general.

How High-Frequency Trading Hit a Speed Bump 

Why it’s worth your time: Trading firms are investing in a trail of wireless towers, fiber-optic lines, and sub cables, dubbed "Go West." This trail will link Chicago, the Pacific, and Tokyo.

"Transmitting market data end to end will take fractions of a second for traders seeking to preserve an edge," writes Gregory Meyer.

What Would Really Happen If Russia Attacked Undersea Internet Cables

Why it’s worth your time: More submarine cables in the news!

In this piece, Wired takes a closer look at what would happen if a "nefarious nation state" tried to take out the global internet by purposefully faulting undersea fiber optic cables. (And if you want to do a little pre-reading, we recommend this FAQ on what happens when cables go down.)

Changing Faces: An Overview of Europe’s Broadband Sector

Why it’s worth your time: The market for fixed broadband internet access in Europe has changed course. 

With internet sectors in many countries approaching a saturation point, operators have moved away from expanding their physical footprints and growing their subscriber bases. They’re now concentrating more on improving the breadth and speed of their services and increasing revenue from existing customers by cross-selling other products such as pay-TV.

Pete Bell explains more in this recent Trends post.

Undersea Cables the Achilles’ Heel in Lead-up to New Cold War

Why it’s worth your time: Let's ease into the weekend with a little light reading on cyber-warfare.

In this Asia Times article, author Doug Tsuruoka looks at "deep-sea information pipes as rich sources of intelligence as well as targets in war," considering how the world's undersea cables can be protected. (And you might recognize the map in this piece!)


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