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Archive for the ‘Telekommunications’ Category

The Mediterranean cable break

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

I can still clearly remember the days when calling Australia from the UK meant avoiding peak times to try to get a free line, and then the delay in the conversation because the copper wires only relayed the speech at a particular speed. You had to wait for the reply from the other end, much like talking on a CB radio.

With the increase in the number of phone calls being sent by satellite, the number of lines increased and the delay disappeared. These days I even use Skype to call far-flung parts of the World.

But wait a moment, Skype is internet-based- does that go by satellite too?

Probably not. The internet communications around the World are relayed from one country to another, with undersea cables playing an important part.

So having an undersea cable go wrong can be a disaster (see this article). It’s amazing to think that so much is still relies on these cables – or in this case how much relies on a single one. The technology has advanced so much in recent years – the cables may now carry fibre-optics and not copper and they are better protected against the salt water, but at the end of the day they are still being laid in the same way around the globe and are still susceptible to the same problems.

I wonder how much disused cable is down there?



 

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