For the better part of the past 15 years, one of the most important elements of our global internet infrastructure fabric – the cables that link populated continents – were largely untouched. Between 2003 and 2015, no new transatlantic cables were introduced; but then, in 2015, there was a sudden explosion of investment. A whopping $7B is anticipated to be invested in subsea infrastructure between continental regions in 2017 and 2018.
We’ve come a long way since the first transatlantic subsea cable was ambitiously laid over 150 years ago in 1858 and failed shortly after its launch. According to Telegeography, there are approximately 428 subsea cables successfully in service today around the world, most of which carry fiber-optic technology across vast expanses of ocean to digitally tether the earth’s landmasses. In total, there are 1.1 million kilometers of subsea cable riding the ocean floor. Most of the existing infrastructure is aging, with legacy cables containing far less fiber capacity than new builds such as GTT Express and AEConnect, which were recently laid across the Atlantic. When a new route is introduced, it immediately accounts for the majority of capacity along its given route, leaving older cables in the dark.
Traditionally, subsea cables were leveraged primarily by service providers looking to deliver access to the public internet, but that is rapidly changing. On Telegeography’s new 2017 Submarine Cable Map, it’s reported that internet backbone providers’ share of subsea cable usage decreased from 80 percent in 2010 to 54 percent in 2016. Private networks are the fastest growing users of subsea capacity. The most recent subsea cable that went into service is the high profile MAREA, which was launched jointly by Facebook and Microsoft in September and indicates the demand for more capacity is driving the development of private subsea cable networks, but the more motiving factor is oftentimes obtaining greater security and control than your backbone provider could offer.
It’s not necessary to invest billions in your own ships and cables to secure your own intercontinental network. Subsea cable owners offer services akin to what dark fiber providers sell across their terrestrial networks and can provide a WAN PHY handoff to private organizations as a demarcation point of their optical networks. In order to leverage something as vast as a subsea cable effectively, private network operators must have flexible optical gear to ensure seamless delivery of traffic between continents.
XKL’s eVolocity platform is the ideal optical platform for private subsea cable networks, maximizing capacity, security and control for subsea network operators. XKL’s platform provides up to 96 channels of 100G Ethernet, 9.6 terabits of line-side bandwidth per fiber pair. Through the statistical multiplexing feature, the platform provides up to 11.5 terabits of client-side services (23 terabits with firmware update), providing the flexibly to allocate bandwidth on demand. Furthermore, eVolocity allows operators to connect physically separate lit services and dark fiber with subsea cables to allow for total control over a seamless global network across multiple transport mediums.
Even though the new cables are receiving all the spotlight, we must leverage cutting edge optical platforms to get the most out of legacy cables. eVolocity supports the use of alien wavelength, allowing customers to extend capacity of an existing DWDM platform. Additionally, eVolocity uses physical ports with soft-assigned priorities along with statistical multiplexing to provide QoS control, flexible bandwidth allocation and maximize line utilization. Spectral efficiency is only part of the optical transport equation. Networks need to fully utilize their line-side capacity. Statistical multiplexing allows for much more efficient line utilization.
Private subsea cable access is expensive to procure and building your own requires an astronomical investment. Whichever path you take, though, power your subsea route with gear that makes the most of your investment. Choose XKL.