Advantages of Submarine cables | Disadvantages of Undersea cables

This page mentions advantages and disadvantages of Undersea submarine communication cables. It menions benefits or advantages of submarine cables and drawbacks or disadvantages of submarine cables used in telecommunications.

Introduction: The undersea cables are used for various applications viz. telecommunications, oil and gas exploration/extraction and electric power transportation. The leading vendors of submarine fiber cables are Fujitsu, Alcatel submarine networks, NEC, Huawei Marine Networks, TE SubCom etc.

Submarine communication cables

The submarine cables for telecommunications are designed to offer more capacity and greater security. These cables carry about 95% of transoceanic voice and data traffic. Big content providers such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have installed undersea cables for their businesses which will help them in cloud computing, cloud data storage and streaming applications. Submarine cables are installed after analyzing the undersea path using undersea cable software such as Malai Ocean Engineer. Makai smart software tools help for submarine cable planning and installation. The software provides position and bottom tension of the cables at any depth from sea level based on log of the cable laid path. The MakaiLay software also provides 3D current profile which helps in undersea cable installations. The SubCom is a leading company specialized in undersea data transport network installation, maintenance and operation.

Submarine cable structure

The submarine cables used for carrying internet traffic is made of following layers. The data is transmitted through optical fiber cables (OFCs).
1 - Tar Coating, 2 - Mylar tape, 3 - Thick stranded Steel wires, 4 - Aluminium Water Barrier , 5 - Polycarbonate layer , 6 - Copper Tubing , 7 - Petroleum jelly, 8 - Optical Fibers.

Fiber optic submarine cables rely on property of pure glass fibers which guide light waves by internal reflection. As light signal loses strength en route, the system requires repeaters at regular intervals. The armoured fiber optic cables are 50 mm in diameter.

Benefits or advantages of Submarine communication cables

Following are the benefits or advantages of Submarine communication cables:
➨The undersea cables withstand rocky sea beds, marine animals, tsunamis, volcanoes and occasional shark.
➨The cables are designed to offer higher bandwidth and low latency.
➨The cables offer high reliability and greater security as they are difficult to tap.
➨These cables are very cost effective compare to satellites.
➨These undersea cables i.e. Optical fiber cables offer low power loss and are immune to EM (Electro-magnetic) interference.
➨They offer greater tensile strength compare to copper and steel fibers of same dimensions.
➨They are flexible and lighter in weight.
➨Submarine cables are essentially non-polluting.
➨Undersea cable network is designed to last for 25 years.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Submarine cables

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Submarine cables:
➨These cables are not suitable for regions vulnerable to disasters such as mudslides, typhoons etc. Satellites are used for such scenarios.
➨These cables are not suitable for remote villages, terrains, small island nations and hilly regions.
➨Undersea cable installation is slow, tedious and expensive.
➨These cables require more time to repair.
➨There is continuous threat to them from shipping and fishing activities.
➨Submarine cable system requires repeaters at regular intervals.
➨Submarine cables are used for espionage by countries during war.
➨These cables are very costly. Hence installation of fiber network is very much expensive which requires huge investment.
➨Also refer advantages and disadvantages of OFC and difference between copper versus fiber.

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