Google’s Transpacific Fiber Ready

Posted by Sam Churchill on

A new Transpacific fiber link, dubbed Unity, is nearly ready and should increase lit cable capacity by around 20 per cent.

The $300 million, 7.68 Terabits/ cable was funded by Google and six Asian telecommunication firms; Singapore Telecommunications, Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, KDDI Corporation and Pacnet.

Two ships have been laying the cable from a midpoint in the Pacific to each of the two landing points. Tyco Telecommunications (now called SubCom), installed the undersea cable from the U.S. end using the Tyco Resolute (photo), while NEC installed the undersea cable from the Japan end.

NEC’s cable ship landed it’s section in Chikura, Japan, on November 2, 2009. The Unity system uses OCC-SC300 cable, with the latest DMF optical technology (right).

Google is building a server farm in Malaysia which it wanted to connect to the US. They went into the market but could not get the price they wanted so came up with the idea of a mini-consortium, according to reports.

The Unity cable system provides direct connectivity between Chikura, located on the coast near Tokyo, and the West Coast Points-of-Presence in Los Angeles, Palo Alto and San Jose. At Chikura, Unity is seamlessly connected to other cable systems, further enhancing connectivity into Asia.

According to TeleGeography’s latest Global Bandwidth Forecast research, Trans-Pacific bandwidth demand has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62.8 percent between 2002 and 2008, and demand is expected to continue on a strong growth trajectory, with an estimated tenfold increase from 2008 to 2013.

The new underwater cable will have 5 fiber pairs, each with a capacity of 960 Gbit/s, and will be expandable to 8 fiber pairs. This will give the cable a total capability of 7.68 Tbit/s.

“As the economies of Asian countries continue to grow, data traffic and the use of the internet expands. Google is a global company and is committed to providing the best quality of user experience, regardless of geography,” Google said in a statement today.

The pipe’s completion comes at a time when Google looks set to pull out of China, something it probably didn’t envisage doing when it first announced the Unity project two years ago.

“The investment in submarine fibre-optic networks peaked in 2001 at around $16bn,” says Julian Rawle, managing partner, Pioneer Consulting (pdf). This compares with an average annual investment in submarine fibre since 1986 of just $2.4bn. Investment in terrestrial fibre-optic networks was similarly out of control. According to Stephan Beckert, a researcher at consultancy TeleGeography, prices fell up to 70 percent a year on major routes between 2000 and 2003.

Submarine fibre-optic cables are being laid again (pdf). More than 25 submarine cable systems are due to be built over the next three years. According to consultants T Soja, over the next few years 85,000km of cable will be installed annually, approaching the 100,000km that was installed in 2001. Fibre-to-the-home projects have just started, and some believe it will stimulate the need for faster fiber backbones.

  • The Trans-Pacific Express (TPE), a $500m fibre-optic submarine cable system, was the first fibre-optic submarine cable to land on the west coast of the US in six years. It was launched in September 2008. TPE connects the United States, China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong over a total of 18,000km. The new link will increase the capacity between the US and China sixty-fold. It is designed to carry up to 5.12Tbit/s, though it will be configured to handle 1.2Tbit/s at first. Customers can buy 10Gbit/s links.
  • Asia American Gateway, a 1.92Tbit/s fibre-optic system is due to enter service soon, connecting the US with Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
  • Europe India Gateway is a 3.84Tbit/s submarine fibre-optic cable project, due to be completed by the second quarter of 2010, which will land in the UK, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates and India.

Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) puts 10Gb on each wavelength (color). That can carry the equivalent of 121,000 simultaneous phone calls. Each strand can multiplex up to 100 or more wavelengths and each cable has 4-8 fiber pairs.

At a landing site, Glimmerglass solutions permit new lightpaths between the wet side and dry side to be rapidly and remotely provisioned, switched, monitored and reconfigured in real time. With Photonic Multicasting, one input can be optically split into multiple perfect copies. A Narus box can perform mass surveillance with deep packet inspection.

Oregon transoceanic fiber cables include:

The International Cable Protection Committee, a 100 Member organisation helps prevent accidental damage to cables. Fishermen and fiber optic companies formed a unique partnership off the Oregon Coast (video). KDDI has a map of global submarine cables.

The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and exhibition, starts tomorrow in San Diego. A live demonstration of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) interoperability, passing 100GigE traffic between a router and optical transport system using two different CFP optical transceivers, marks a significant step toward commercial availability of 100 GigE services at economic cost levels, says XChange Magazine.

Intel, together with Google, Logitech and Sony, are working on a TV set-top box and service. IPTV subscriptions are poised to grow from over 30 million in 2010 to 68 million by the end of 2014, according to forecasts from analyst firm Strategy Analytics. Asia Pacific and Western Europe will lead in deployments, says the firm.

Eric Rosenberry, an IT professional based out of Portland, Oregon has a list and map of Colo & Telecom Providers in Portland.

“A few hundred years from now the Internet will be viewed on the same level as the printing press-a technological development that in a short period of time allowed every human being on the planet to be connected to every other human being,” said David Bishop director of Micro Mechanics Research Department at Lucent.

“This is going to blur the lines of status, education and money”, said Bishop. “The playing field is wide open. Someone in Timbuktu will have the same opportunity to access every bit as much information as someone in Manhattan. This is going to have a huge impact on how the world works. I don’t think we quite understand yet, but there will be no stopping it.”

Related Dailywireless articles include; The Telephone Game, Google + SingTel = Unity Submarine Fiber, Google: Now it’s Transpacific Fiber, and Fiber Crosses the Pond.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 8:38 am .

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