Why does the undersea fiber optic cable system often have problems?

Talking about the Internet, we can’t help but mention the marine cable system. In recent years, Internet users in Vietnam have heard many times about fiber optic cable problems affecting quality. amount for access. Through a short article, we hope to share with readers the basic concepts of the role of the undersea fiber optic network for the Internet infrastructure system.

Internet users today often imagine the Internet as a virtual space. However, the electrical signals generated by your computer are eventually transmitted to its destination via very real devices such as network cables, routers etc. In the case of mobile devices, although radio waves are While routing is used to connect end-users to stations, traffic between stations is mostly wired, and mobile service providers are ultimately connected. connected to the Internet, which is a wired network.

For example, according to the information from the above link, we can “guess” that Beeline’s traffic will be transmitted to FPT, VTC and CMC…

The physical network connection in the same territory, continent is usually done by telecommunications corporations with cable networks such as AT&T, NTT, VNPT …

In contrast, the connection between countries and continents is usually done by undersea fiber optic cable systems managed by a group of companies (consortium). The reason undersea cable systems are built and used more than domestic cable systems (terrestrial cable) can be due to historical, technical, topographical and cost reasons. Using a satellite is not a good option because the delay is many times greater than fiber optic cable (the average delay of the signal from Japan across the Pacific Ocean to the US and back (Round-Trip Time). : RTT) is around 100ms, compared to almost 500ms for satellite signals)

Depending on geographic and environmental conditions, the “landing station” of the undersea fiber optic cable systems is concentrated at a number of fixed locations in each country. For example, places like Chikura, Toyohashi (Japan), Vung Tau, Da Nang (Vietnam), Harbor Pointe, Grover Beach (US). Most of these points are locations near the sea and are not busy fishing ports. Network provider PoPs are not usually set up at grounding stations near the sea, so they are located further inland, in large urban areas, and in technology centers close to customers. This requires a cabling system between the grounding stations and the PoPs. This network is often called a local-loop and is operated by domestic telecommunications companies.

In addition to cabling, fiber optic network systems are equipped with much different equipment than IP routers (routers, L3 switches) and are commonly referred to as L1 devices.

Despite being built with many protection techniques, undersea fiber optic systems are still prone to failure. Common causes are natural disasters (undersea landslides, earthquakes), breakage due to entanglement in ship anchors, theft (which happened in the past with the SMW3 system in Vietnam). The 2011 earthquake destroyed nearly half of the fiber optic cable capacity from Japan to other countries. Most incidents require specialized ships to pull up the damaged cable and repair it, so the repair time for the undersea fiber optic cable system usually lasts several months. Due to the geographic location and topography of the seabed, some places have denser cable density than others. The Luzon Strait is one such place. As of 2017, there are less than 20 fiber optic systems passing through here (SMW3/TGN …). For such locations, natural disasters often lead to the failure of a series of fiber optic systems at the same time. The earthquake at the end of 2016 in this area damaged 9 fiber optic systems at the same time and caused much damage to many Southeast Asian countries. For these reasons, careful selection and reasonable distribution among fiber optic systems is an important task to ensure the quality of network service providers.

With rapid technical development and customer demand, most networks provide 10 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s interfaces. The 400 Gbit/s interface is also coming in the near future.


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