How are fiber optic cables laid on the ocean floor?

  • Osdem66
  • January 01, 2020
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  • How are fiber optic cables laid on the ocean floor?

Today, although wireless communication is becoming widespread day by day, approximately 95% of the internet we use is carried by fiber optic cables on the ocean floor.

In fiber optic cables, the data carrier is light. Light reflects inside very thin glass strands, allowing data to be carried over long distances without being lost. Data can be transferred at very high speed with fiber optic cables. The diameter of a fiber optic cable is on average 0.125 millimeters, that is, twice the thickness of a hair.

In fact, the transportation of data between continents via cables passing under the sea is not a new technology. In 1858, for the first time a telegraphic message was transported via copper wires laid between continents.

So, how are very long and thin fiber optic cables laid on the ocean floor at very deep depths? Special cable-laying vessels are used for this.

The fiber optic cable-laying vessel extends the cable at one end of the station on land towards the open sea. Meanwhile, the floats connected to the cable at regular intervals prevent the cable from sinking.

As the ship advances in the open sea, the buoys are lifted to allow the cable to sink to the sea floor.

In case of damage to the fiber optic cables laid on the ocean floor, the damage is repaired using cable repair ships. However, the main danger for fiber optic cables is not in the open sea, but in the areas where the cables are laid close to land. Because nets and anchors can cause the cables to break, especially in areas close to land where fishing is done. For this reason, in areas where the sea floor is soft, cables are buried in the sea floor. In areas where the sea floor is hard, there are protective equipment outside the cables.


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