Facebook has huge plans to connect the entire world to a network where each person has access to the internet. In such an effort, the company partnered with Microsoft and Telxius, the telecom infrastructure company, to lay out a data cable underneath the Atlantic ocean with a transmission capability of 160 terabits per second.
Data transmission at the rate of 160 terabits per second is the equivalent of streaming 71-million HD movies simultaneously at a speed that is 16-million times faster than our average home internet connections. Microsoft has announced the completion of the highest capacity subsea data cable that will become fully operational by early 2018.
The project has been titled Marea that translates to “tide” from Spanish. It is a 4,000-mile cable that extends from Virginia Beach, Virginia to the city of Bilbao, Spain. It is 17,000-feet below the surface of the ocean and weighs 10.25-million pounds. The cable is meant to protect the people living in the US and Europe against natural disasters that may disrupt internet connections. As far as Microsoft and Facebook are concerned, both of them have large datacenter operations in Virginia.
Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft, says,
“Marea comes at a critical time. Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55 percent more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent more data than between the US and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase.”
The cable is made of eight pairs of fiberoptic cable enclosed by copper, and most parts closer to the shore are buried to protect them from shipping traffic. According to Microsoft and Facebook, it is an open design project that will make room for major changes as technology evolves and the demands for data quantity and speed rise. It will be easy to upgrade the same data cable and its equipment to be compatible with the new technologies.
As data demands rise, most tech companies are opting to create their infrastructure instead of relying on the pre-existing telecom consortiums. The new cable projects give them more control over the data that need to be communicated quickly around the world. Such projects will also allow them to significantly improve their cloud services for products like Azure, Microsoft Office 365, and Xbox Live for Microsoft, and Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp for Facebook.
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