back to article Boffins ready to demo 1.44 petabit-per-second fibre cables

Today's international optical systems carry impressive quantities of data, but as 'net traffic continues to grow they'll likely run out of capacity. That's had boffins working on ways to pack more spatial paths inside the fibres, so if you were laying a twelve-pair cable across the Atlantic, you'd get multiple paths per fibre …

  1. Phil W

    "We can either build more submarine cables or more efficient submarine cables"

    What?! Either is very much the wrong word there.

    First off "More efficient submarine cables" is a subset of the group "more submarine cables" the statement above is logically impossible you can't build more efficient cables unless you build at least one more cable for that more efficient one to exist.

    Secondly the statement of "either" implies that if we make a more efficient cable we won't need to lay anymore of them, however history doesn't support that argument our data usage has rapidly increased over time and will certainly continue to do so, and given that this innovation will take 10 years to be ready it likely won't seem as impressive by the time it is.

  2. Blofeld's Cat

    Impressive but ...

    "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.", Andrew Tanenbaum, 1981

    In the spirit of the above, may I suggest using the "shipping container full of micro SD cards", as the El Reg standard unit of bandwidth.

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Impressive but ...

      The shipping container full of micro SD cards is NOT a unit of bandwidth as it has the dimension of bytes, not bytes/second.

      So how fast has a container full of micro SD cards to move to match the 1.44 peta-bit/s fiber? A standard shipping container can hold about 10^8 µSD cards with say 32 GByte each. That is 25600 Petabits/container. Optical signal travel at 200000 km/s. Thus the container has to move at 11.25 km/s (40500 km/h) to match the new optical fiber. That is more than 11.186 km/s, the escape velocity from Earth.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Impressive but ...

        MV CSCL Globe can carry 19100 containers. So as long as it was moving about 2km/h (that's like a 2yo walking pace), it could still have higher bandwidth.

    2. MonkeyBob

      Re: Impressive but ...

      i wouldn't want to be the guy swapping all the cards for the read/write of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impressive but ...

        "i wouldn't want to be the guy swapping all the cards for the read/write of them."

        Ssshh it's part of Donald's plan to bring hi-tech jobs back to America.

  3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    The "Last 100 Miles" problem

    Hopefully somebody is working on optimising the technology to bring super fast and affordable Internet to every last tropical island.

    Laying in a hammock drinking coconut wine, streaming BBC, would be nice.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: The "Last 100 Miles" problem

      It would take 45662100 years to re-route 1 second of that pipe down my broadband. Which is, coincidentally, the time I expect openretch to be called in by BT to upgrade it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is 1.44 petabit equal to 5 leather jackets and a fur coat?

  5. Sampler


    NTT reckons it still needs as much as a decade's work to be ready for commercial deployment
    Why can't you start with that and save me wasting my time reading the whole thing?

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Priorities

      That's probably sooner than they'll have finished writing the cargo ship full of micro SD cards.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Priorities

      Kids today, no bloody patience.

      We'll let you know when someone lands on Mars, just ignore all stories about it until then.

      1. Sampler

        Re: Priorities

        Thanks Lost all faith...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Priorities

          Yeah, really, thanks. We've better things to do than be strung along by maybes. How about a tech article where some big, new tech is hitting the open market instead?

  6. Milton Silver badge

    Those vulnerable cables

    The people who own navies are pretty much the only ones who can cut undersea cables. Unfortunately they are also the ones most likely to feel the motivation. While there are a few individual decent people in governments, the latter as a whole behave like paranoid sociopaths - and that's even before the Orange Idiot came along.

    I think I'd like to see more cables, over a variety of routes, plus more methods for carrying web traffic by other means.

    Example: If the cretin in the White House blunders his way into trouble with China over Taiwan, and if China decides on a partial (withdrawable, deniable, de-escalatable) blockade of Taiwan, don't you think the latter's cables will be severed pronto?

    1. Phil W

      Re: Those vulnerable cables

      Honestly I don't think cable cutting is a huge threat to any nation.

      I can't speak for every country, but I'm fairly confident most have more than one route in and out data wise, so cutting them off would be quite time consuming.

      More importantly though, particularly when it comes to the major superpowers, they'd rather have their enemies online so they can perform cyber attacks on them.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Those vulnerable cables

      "The people who own navies are pretty much the only ones who can cut undersea cables."

      Experience shows that it's the people who own ship anchors and/or deep trawl rigs

      Whilst the navies subset might have motivation, the reality is more depressingly mundane and regular.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Those vulnerable cables

        History shows that those with well funded intelligence agencies who use "accidents" to cover their work are the least vulnerable.

      2. AmenFromMars

        Re: Those vulnerable cables

        @Alan ""The people who own navies are pretty much the only ones who can cut undersea cables."

        Experience shows that it's the people who own ship anchors and/or deep trawl rigs"

        What he said. Back in the ‘80s when I worked on submarine cables (copper not fibre) trawlers dragging their anchors nearly isolated the UK. There were all sorts of tortuous re-routes and communications to the US had to go via satellite. Coincidentally BT engineers were on strike at the time...

  7. Chris G Silver badge


    I would settle for all the fibre that has recently been: nstalled on this island to function at several Mb/s rather than the Kbs I often get, paeticularly when it is raining and there are no microwave transmitters involved. Can they perfect waterproof optical cable first?

    I have a suspicion that the fibre has not actually been connected, when it rains everyone stays inside and turns on the internet so the bandwidth drops/clogs up.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Waterproof

      What you are probably experiencing here is what is know commonly as "ugh it's wet I am going to stay in and go online" your contention ratio then hits max and the line fibre that BT installed expecting only 5 of those 50 to be online doing anything at oncecannot cope with all 50 at any reasonable speed.

      Or it could be that it is FTTC instead and it's your copper getting wet as light going through a sealed cable does not tend to get affected by rain.

      1. AmenFromMars

        Re: Waterproof

        Surprisingly fibre can be affected by heavy rain/flooding, but not for the reasons you might think. The joints in man holes can float and cause the fibre to exceed its bend radius or stress other joints.

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