Google Transatlantic Cable Transmits 250TB/s Of Data

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More speed vicar? Google Cloud customers in European to gain boost from undersea cable to US capable of carrying 250TB per second

Google has decided to go it alone with its latest undersea cable that will connect the United States to Europe.

This ‘Dunant’ cable (named after Red Cross founder Henry Dunant) will run from Virginia Beach in the United States to a landing station in the French west coast, and will utilise space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology for faster transmission speeds.

The Atlantic ocean has a growing number of subsea cables. In 2017 for example, Microsoft and Facebook laid the then highest capacity subsea cable in the Atlantic.

SDM technology

‘Marea’, which is Spanish for tide, connected Virginia Beach in the US with Bilbao in Spain, and was capable of carrying 160Tbps. It comprises eight fibre optic cables surrounded by copper, plastic and waterproof protection and was 1.6 times the size of a garden hose.

But the Google Dunant cable will be even faster thanks to the SDM tech.

“In 1858, Queen Victoria sent the first transatlantic telegram to U.S. President James Buchanan, sending a message in Morse Code at a rate of one-word per minute,” wrote Google in an update. “In Q3 of 2020, when we turn on our private Dunant undersea cable that connects the USA and France, it will transmit 250 Terabits of data per second – enough to transmit the entire digitised Library of Congress three times every second.

Google said it is going it alone with this 6,400 km cable, becoming the first major non-telecom company to build its own after years of leasing cables or being part of consortiums.

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Remember, when these undersea cables are laid, telecom companies typically bundle a number of their own fibre optic lines into a single underwater cable. That way, they can share the cost of construction in the lengthy cable deployment, which is carried out from the back of a cable-laying ship.

But Google is bearing the financial costs alone, and that way has full control of routing and guaranteed bandwidth.

“Traditional subsea cables are powered from the shore end and rely on a dedicated set of pump lasers to amplify the optical signal for each fiber pair as data traverses the length of the cable,” said Google. “Now, SDM technology allows pump lasers and associated optical components to be shared among multiple fibre pairs, while still working within the unique power constraints of the ocean floor.”

Dunant is expected to go live in Q3 2020.

Growing demand

Meanwhile Google’s Curie cable (named after the physicist and chemist), which connects Chile to Los Angeles, is expected go live later this year.

“Demand for online content has exploded in recent years, driven by more internet users, increased engagement with rich content like video, and new demand for cloud services,” said Google. “When it comes online next year, it’s our hope that Dunant and these advances in submarine cable technology will help users access online content quickly from wherever they may be.”

Google is also building fibre networks on land as well.

The Google Fiber Network in the United States for example covers nine major metropolitan areas.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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