Know about undersea cable in simple words

Abimuktheeswaran Chidambaram
3 min readDec 13, 2023

“Subsea cables serve as the backbone of global communication, linking continents and facilitating the exchange of data, information, and ideas worldwide”.

Undersea cable also called submarine cable laid on the ocean floor for the transmission of messages. It was introduced in the 18th century. Modern submarine cables use fiber-optic technology. It is typically between 0.8 and 1.2 inches in thickness. They are made up of multiple layers of protective material. Fiber optics is used for faster, high-performance data networking. It is also commonly used in carrying digital data such as internet, television and telephones, and private data traffic. A cable connection is generally faster and provides greater reliability, low latency, and security than a WIFI connection. undersea cable is more expensive, complex, and challenging than installing cables on land. This is because of the installation and maintenance. Submarine cables have an average lifespan of 25 years. The ICPC (International Cable Protection Committee) is the nonprofit organization to protecting submarine cables from natural and human risks of damage.

1. Cable landing station

A cable landing station is also known as a submarine cable landing station or a submarine cable station. It is located at the coastline where undersea fiber optic cables carrying international telecommunications and internet traffic are connected to terrestrial networks. These stations serve as the endpoint for submarine cables connecting different countries and continents that span across oceans and seas.

2. Cable Ship

A cable ship is used to lay the cables under the sea for transmitting the communication. Modern cable ships have two types: cable repair ships and cable laying ships. Both ships have cable storage drums that are used to lay the cable under the sea. Linear Cable Engine (LCE) that is used to lay the cable under the sea also pulls the cable from the sea to fix it.

How the cables are laying?

Cables are buried under the sea for protection using cable-laying ships. cable laying ship is designed for laying cables that are bigger and slightly difficult to move in different positions. cables are buried under the sea at an average depth is 3,600m and up to 11,000m at its deepest. which explains why you don’t see cables when you go to the beach. But in the deep sea, they are laid directly on the ocean floor. Submarine cable installation cost is $30,000 to $50,000 per km.

How do the cables get repaired?

cable repair ship is designed for repairing cables that are smaller in size and easy to move in different positions. Once the cable gets damaged, It is retrieved from the seafloor using a grapnel to snag and pull it up to the surface. Once on board, the damaged cables are removed. New cables are spliced (a method of joining two or more cables together) to reconnect the several ends of the cable. The cable is tested and lowered back to the sea floor after the fault is resolved.

Thanks for reading.

Last updated: 07-Jan-2024