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The Internet. International communication. Global data transport. Without submarine cable networks, these simply wouldn’t exist as you know them today. Contrary to popular belief, satellites account for a miniscule part of keeping the world connected. Submarine networks do the heavy lifting—all from the depths of the ocean floors. It’s time we give this critical industry the rightful recognition it deserves.
Submarine networks carry over 99 percent of the world’s intercontinental electronic communications traffic. The submarine networking industry has experienced several technology advancements in recent years, most importantly the rapid adoption of coherent detection modems. This revolutionary technology changed how capacity was added to transoceanic corridors, extended the life of existing wet plant assets, opened existing wet plants to best-of-breed upgrade vendors, enabled unprecedented capacities on new submarine cables, and completely changed legacy business models.
Maintaining pace with voracious bandwidth demands by maximizing submarine optical spectrum efficiency for optimized network asset monetization
Guaranteeing network availability by proactively and reactively addressing network faults via intelligent mesh protection coupled with software intelligence and automation
Protecting revenues and margins through optimized network designs that reduce the total cost of end-to-end network ownership
Open submarine networks are truly a revolutionary change coming to a rather static and conservative segment of the networking industry. From a technology perspective, openness completely changes how submarine networks are modeled, designed, deployed, and managed. From a business perspective, network operators can choose best-of-breed technologies from a broader selection of vendors, streamline operational processes, accelerate service innovation, reduce time-to-market, and maintain pace with web-scale content players who increasingly account for the majority of transoceanic bandwidth growth.
There are now options for submarine cable operators to mix-and-match building blocks to create purpose-built network solutions. These options align with the openness movement, which strives to minimize or outright eliminate the closed and proprietary nature from submarine networks. Submarine cable operators are now able to easily choose any vendor’s terminal equipment based on the best technology for the right cost at the time it’s required to address specific business requirements.
"There’s no ‘Plan B’ for interconnecting continents at the capacity, reliability, and latency required to keep the Internet humming—satellites need not apply. This vital fact means that submarine networking technologies will (and must) continue to rapidly evolve, out of sheer necessity, just to maintain pace with our voracious appetite for Internet content and in a highly reliable manner."
– Brian Lavallée, Senior Director of Portfolio Solutions Marketing
Following the combined technological innovation related to optical transmission, intelligent protection switching, virtualization, and analytics, the industry is undergoing yet another sea change with the advent of open cables, which will have a significant impact on the networks and associated business models. Openness enables greater choice and even greater possibilities.
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