back to article Facebook, Amazon fund new trans-Pacific submarine cable

A consortium including Facebook, Amazon and SoftBank has signed up to build a new submarine cable linking Asia and the United States of America. NTT Communications, PCCW Global and PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company) have also tossed cash into the “JUPITER” cable, which will land in Los Angeles, the Japanese …

  1. ratfox Silver badge
    WTF?

    How many of these cables are currently under construction? It's starting to feel like the exponential need for bandwidth means that in fifty year, half of humanity will be only laying cables so that the other half can watch cat videos...

    Showing of which: is there really such as a thing as a cable "made for video"? Or do they just mean that they expect to mostly use it to transmit videos? A cable made for video sounds a bit like on of those USB keys "optimized for MP3"...

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      "It's starting to feel like the exponential need for bandwidth means that in fifty year, half of humanity will be only laying cables so that the other half can watch cat videos..."

      In 50 years time, the half of humanity watching cat videos (although I'm not sure which half) will want to be watching their purring furry friends in 32 or 64k or whatever; hence the requirement for more cables for more bandwidth. Perhaps I dreamt it though, but I'm sure the story also mentioned something about the current requirement for more cables so we can all watch global sporting events in HD or 4k or whatever. Dunno... perhaps you can go and check that for us all?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It's starting to feel like the exponential need for bandwidth...."

      I think you mean "the exponential expectations of the need for bandwidth. As with most unregulated growth markets involving long lead time and long life time assets, everybody piles in, each with their own optimistic growth forecast, and builds away, and although the individual business cases often look entirely feasible, collectively they are nonsense. Over-capacity is built, the price collapses, some investors lose out, and other companies pick up the assets on the cheap. Go back fifteen years, and look what happened to Global Crossing, and expect a repeat of that. Sadly I can't predict the date it will all go pear shaped, but the collective expectations of vast growth would need currently implausible levels of downstream bandwidth. That bandwidth may arrive one day, but not in the timescale to save the current South Sea Bubble of cable companies.

    3. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Alien

      "...half of humanity will be only laying cables so that the other half can watch cat videos..."

      Perhaps it will be the cats who will be watching...

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Perhaps it will be the cats who will be watching...

        Unless they start chasing the originators of the experiment, i.e. the mice.

    4. Kernel Silver badge

      "Showing of which: is there really such as a thing as a cable "made for video"? Or do they just mean that they expect to mostly use it to transmit videos?"

      I would guess that what they are referring to is that the terminal equipment will be optimized for for easy interfacing to video feeds, as opposed to optimization for voice or data - most vendors of such equipment supply specialized video transponder cards for such purposes, rather than working through the kludge of converting the video to data in a separate box and then transmitting the result over a data optimized link.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        I doubt it. The system's almost certainly going to be using standard DWDM kit. The announcement is just a typical consortium/club arrangement, only instead of being all telco, it's part 'customer' funded. Facebook & Amazon will get a capacity allocation based on their investment that they can use or resell, and probably pay a share of the OAM costs. So if the cable goes ahead, they have a known cost & capacity instead of gambling on wavelength availability and future prices on the market.

        1. Kernel Silver badge

          I am well aware they will be using standard DWDM kit - in fact, I'm typing this while waiting for a firmware upgrade process to complete in one of the controller cards in a Nokia 1830PSS node, which by most definitions counts as standard DWDM kit, so I am quite familiar with DWDM and similar technologies.

          I am also well aware that there are specific video optimized transponder cards for such standard DWDM kit which you might use instead of other transponders if you wished to transmit a lot of video rather than primarily data - little details like tighter jitter and timing specs, which can be a bit more relaxed if you're only wishing to send data

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Sure, but this is a submarine system with mixed customers. So would be using something like Huawei's OSN9800 SLT and dropping ITU-standard ODUs. The video for Amazon & Facebook's likely to IP rather than 'pure' broadcast transport, so jitter or timing are less critical. They may decide to use traffic shaping to groom video traffic onto some of their capacity allocation, and might even ask for ODUflex provision to make life more.. interesting.

            (Pure video, ie 'broadcast' quality is one of those fun parts of telecoms. The masses want cheap packets, broadcasters want the tight jitter/timing features that ATM provided, and IP.. doesn't. Bellheads v Netheads again.. ODU/OTU does try to mediate, assuming your wholesale provider supports it. If not, go the Amazon/Facebook route and build your own infrastructure..)

  2. jake Silver badge

    The mind absolutely boggles.

    Do these kids not know about a thing we used to call "mirrors"? Not that it would make any difference, mind you ... It never did, why start now?

    A host is a host from coast to coast

    And no one will talk to a host that's close

    Unless the host (that isn't close)

    is busy, hung or dead.

    -- David Lesher

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

      I suspect these companies and their content delivery partners do indeed know about mirrors.

      If you are live streaming an event you need to populate those mirrors in real time.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

        "If you are live streaming an event you need to populate those mirrors in real time."

        True enough. But it doesn't take anywhere near that kind of bandwidth.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

      Mirrors aren't much use for live content...

      Such as...oh, I don't know... live Olympics streaming...like the article mentioned?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

        "Mirrors aren't much use for live content..."

        Of course they are. They just call it a "content delivery network". Without load balancing, things like YouTube wouldn't work ... well, they'd work, for values of "work" that include "fall over on a regular basis".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

      Go right to the NOC and trace the host

      Your packets are racing from pillar to post

      And routers are doing their very most

      So you can watch Mr. Ed!

  3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    How about

    We now start shoving endless ads at Amazon for subsea cables and all manner of glass fibre products? After all, according to Amazon's inane advertising philosophy, since they've ordered one they'll obviously want a load more.

    Won't they?

  4. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Slack

    I hope that they remember to leave a big loop of slack cable at the Japanese end. Didn't Japan move a metre to the left during the last big earthquake?

    Edit: I'm wrong, it moved 2.4m towards North America. That's ruined my image of the plug being pulled out of the wall in Los Angeles :(

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_T%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami#Geophysical_effects

    1. pxd

      Re: Slack

      Slack, as defined here: https://www.wired.com/1996/12/ffglass/ Brilliant article, highly recommended. pxd

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Slack

      During the 7.8 Kaikoura quake recently parts of the NE of the South Island of New Zealand was moved 5m towards the North Island. Uplift in places exceeded 6m. The maritime alps around Kaikoura were thrust up in a similar manner.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Slack

        In the aftermath of the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, many Silly Con Valley companies discovered that leaving slack in the cables is a good idea in Earthquake Country. I have no idea how many backplanes were ruined, nor at what cost, after having their lovingly screwed in cables ripped out without so much as a by-your-leave. I do know that 19" racks full of screwed up equipment were extremely common for several years at places like Haltech, HalTed, TheSource and Wierdstuff ... I managed to cobble together a lot of good gear out of "scrap", at scrap prices. Most of it still works.

        Hey, we warned 'em ... but who listens to the natives?

  5. David Hicklin

    Cable Management?

    At the rate they are laying these cables the seabed will start to look like the underside of the DC floor with a rats nest of cables tangled up with each other.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Cable Management?

      I wonder if they can knit a Fair Isle pattern.

      Or even just plaid

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