Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Google Networking IT Technology

Transpacific Unity Fiber Optic Cable Leaves Japan 136

Posted by timothy
from the off-to-seek-its-fortune dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "The 10,000 km (6,200 mile) long Unity fiber optic cable, funded by Google and five East Asian communication companies, left Japanese shores on November 1st to be laid along the northern Pacific Ocean floor. The Japanese end of the cable is expected to be fused to the American end sometime around November 11th. The cable, which was announced in February of 2008 at a cost of around $300 million USD, has the theoretical capacity of 7.68 Tbps, but will be set at a capacity of about 4.8 Tbps (supposedly equivalent to about 75 million simultaneous phone calls) during its initial use. When Unity begins full operation sometime early next year, it is projected to increase internet traffic capacity between the two regions by over 20%, a wonderful boost to transpacific relations!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Transpacific Unity Fiber Optic Cable Leaves Japan

Comments Filter:
  • Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SalaSSin (1414849) on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:14AM (#29949364) Homepage Journal
    Woohoo! Faster Hentai downloads :-)
  • Yeah but (Score:1, Troll)

    by TreyGeek (1391679)
    "it is projected to increase internet traffic capacity between the two regions by over 20%, a wonderful boast to transpacific relations!"

    That is until a ship drops anchor on top of it.
  • Dam (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:26AM (#29949422)

    Even fiber optic cable is getting laid...

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Even fiber optic cable is getting laid...

      Never mind. Your turn will come someday.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Your turn will come someday

        Not

      • Even fiber optic cable is getting laid...

        Never mind. Your turn will come someday.

        His turn will come when he learns how to spell, damn it.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          I don't think women look at how guys spell as a factor for whether or not they're going to have sex. You seriously think that being a "good guy" will get you any sex? Think twice! :-)
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            I don't think women look at how guys spell as a factor for whether or not they're going to have sex. You seriously think that being a "good guy" will get you any sex? Think twice! :-)

            No I don't actually.

            On the other hand I do, somewhat belatedly, realize that I should have added some kind of sarcasm tags for the benefit of those who couldn't figure out that "when he learns how to spell" was a euphemism for "never."

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by treeves (963993)

          Yeah, I've certainly found that my superior spelling abilities have given me great success with the ladies!
          Not.

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            Yeah, I've certainly found that my superior spelling abilities have given me great success with the ladies! Not.

            As long as all you want to do is play scrabble your superior spelling skills will do fine.

      • Re:Dam (Score:4, Funny)

        by Ant P. (974313) on Monday November 02, 2009 @10:49AM (#29950132) Homepage

        Never mind. Your turn will come someday.

        ...IN SEA BED!

      • Yes but it is 10,000 km long.

        Size matters, you know :-)

    • But, as a friend of mine described fucking a girl: It's like throwing a salami in a corridor!

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:28AM (#29949424)

    So I've got a bunch of cable laying around, figure I'll run my own line from Japan to California. How does that work, exactly? I assume the cable is protected in some extremely strong waterproof and snag-proof sheath, but do they really just roll it off the ship, let it fall to the ocean floor, and there it sits? Do they have to occasionally throw a repeater overboard as well? I've always been curious how we're actually able to have these outrageously long cables under the sea and that it works, and works well enough that I believe cables are still the preferred method of data movement, with satellites being a distant second.

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:30AM (#29949440) Homepage Journal

    Sweet, this will give me faster access to Hulu, Slacker, and all of the nice American websites.

  • by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:30AM (#29949450)
    For some reason 4.8 terabits/s doesn't sound like that much to me. Obviously it must be since it's boosting traffic by 20% but intuitively I would have imagined another 2 or 3 orders of magnitude for an inter-continental link.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      The 20% figure is based on the 7.5tb/s speed not the initial 4.8 but still. The % value is the important one to your or I anyways, the actual tb/s figure is meaningless aside from getting a nerd hard on for the bandwidth.
    • by dingen (958134)

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. With all of the megabit and gigabit links being thrown around, surely a major line like this should have more bandwith than a mere few terabits?

      I suppose not.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Traffic between east asian regions and the americas has always been extremely limited, and expensive. Honestly, as soon as you leave your own ISP's territory, traffic starts being very limited. This is helped by the fact that ISPs have deals between them to even out the cost, and that the vast majority of traffic stays in house, on top of having bigger content providers replicate their stuff around the world (google, youtube, microsoft, akamai...), but if it wasn't for that, Google or Microsoft alone would

    • The reason it is smaller than you would think is a thing called reachability. While I do not work with submarine cables I have been doing fiber optic equipment for about 20 years. From a metro perspective the numbers seem small given DWDM systems that can achieve many channels of 40G and 100G but there are limitations particularly related to distance. I really am not sure what the amps are (I would guess mostly EDFAs and RAMAN amps plus some back to back amps for regen to clean the signal up) but the higher

    • by Shatrat (855151)
      I work in Fiber.
      10gbit/s is the standard for high speed links, that'd be OC-192 or 10G Ethernet. 40gbit/s is out there for early adopters.
      From some quick math I'm guessing it's 256 fiber cable with 122 40gbit/s links using repeaters and a half dozen pairs held in reserve for when a link goes bad.
      It could be a few hundred 10gbit/s links over some form of WDM with amplifiers, though I doubt it because of the dispersion problems over this kind of distance.
      I don't work with undesea fiber but I can assure you th
      • by Matt_R (23461)
        I bet they do use DWDM. Pipe's PPC1 uses 2 pairs over 6900km with a capacity of 2.56Tb/s, and Telstra's Endeavour is 2 pair over 9100km with a capacity of 1.28Tb/s
        • by Shatrat (855151)
          I wish there was a networking equivalent of top500.org
          I've never worked with anything longer than 160km without 3R regen or more than 40ch per pair.
          Undersea stuff is a little out of my element. I would have thought DWDM would be handicapped by dispersion, unless they have optical MDUs and transponders built into the regen nodes to 3R regen each channel. That seems a little complex for a system that would require a boat to repair.
          Thanks for the info, at any rate.
  • ...but it would be nice to have the landings more widely distributed, especially on the US Atlantic coast.

  • Woo Hoo! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Cornwallis (1188489)

    A faster and more direct tube to receive Chinese spam.

  • Wow! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by kurt555gs (309278)

    Asian bathroom pron, without buffering!

  • Surely the firewalls and censorship that happens in China kind of defeats the purpose of faster connections between the Far East and the USA?
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      I don't know which parallel universe you're from, but in this one Japan isn't part of China.

      • You seem to assume that it is impossible that a Chinese ISP might interconnect with a Japanese ISP for transit to the US.

        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          The way the summary says it, it's a Japan-America optic cable. I guess one goal would be to route around such problems.

  • Will there be a ceremonial connection of a golden coupler when the cables meet in the middle?

  • Back in 1996 Neal Stephenson wrote a really excellent article, "Mother Earth Mother Board" in Wired. If you're curious about what it actually takes to wire the world it's a really excellent read.

    Paged:
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass.html [wired.com]

    Single-page:
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr.html [wired.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by CrashNBrn (1143981)
      So I generally have a pretty good attention span...
      But 56 pages, is there a diploma afterwards?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was just purging a bunch of old Wired magazines. And I found this issue. I will save this one for ever!
      The issue is a stark contrast to the wimpy magazine that Wired has become. That issue, with Stephenson's long superb article, is almost 300 pages long, more than twice the current issues. The November issue before it was also 300 pages with Bruce Sterling's Burning man article. Such great writing, such massive content. Where is it now?

        Oh how the mighty have fallen !

  • Is that what this is for?

  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller@daimi. a u . dk> on Monday November 02, 2009 @10:14AM (#29949756)

    How much of that cost is the cable?

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 02, 2009 @10:45AM (#29950096)

      How much of that cost is the cable?

      http://www.isp-planet.com/business/fiber_price_bol.html [isp-planet.com]

      On land rural jobs cost about $15K/mile. On land super-urban jobs cost about $500K/mile. The difference is permits, corruption, kickbacks, etc. Also scaling is important, "one job in Montana" may be hundreds of miles, and "one job in Manhatten" may be measured in feet, but the fixed costs are... fixed... so the cost per mile seems higher on the short jobs.

      If you assume underwater fiber costs around as much as the total cost of cheap rural route, the 6200 mile route times 16K/mile equals about $100M. That makes sense, since the whole job is only supposed to cost about $300M.

      Repairing fiber is somewhat more difficult than laying fiber because it's time sensitive. But then again they probably charge by the hour anyway. Since a "several day" repair job approaches $10M, if you assume that is 4 days at $10M total, that would be about $2.5M per day. The little row boat they're using is going to take about 40 days to paddle across the pond, 40 days * $2.5M a day conveniently works out to about $100M. That makes sense, since the whole job is only supposed to cost about $300M.

      Add in the usual admin overhead, several multimillion dollar executive bonuses, engineering work, station gear at each endpoint, marketing and sales upfront expenses including slashvertisements, booze, coke, etc, I think they could blow somewhat less than $100M on that.

      My labor estimate is probably about right for overtime repair work and a bit high for contracted construction work. My estimate for overhead may be a bit high. That means the cost of the cable itself probably is about $125M to $150M.

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Sounds pretty cheap to me, particularly when you consider the specialized ships and expertise and whatnot you require for this type of work. Perhaps the got a volume discount.

      300 Million / 10,000 Km = 30,000$/Km

      That is everything, including the cable.

      I know it isn't the same thing but I know of underwater electrical cable that cost something like 10,000$/Foot... just to put it in perspective. (That was for a wind power project located on an island that had to run a power cable from their substation to the g

  • "The cable ... has the theoretical capacity of 7.68 Tbps, but will be set at a capacity of about 4.8 Tbps (supposedly equivalent to about 75 million simultaneous phone calls) during its initial use."

    We've come a long way from copper telegraph lines.

  • More fiber (Score:3, Funny)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday November 02, 2009 @10:34AM (#29949982) Homepage Journal

    Isn't that also what the bread companies keep trying to sell us?

  • it is projected to increase internet traffic capacity between the two regions by over 20%, a wonderful boost to transpacific relations!

    Man, I hate those Japanese! And they hate us too!

    (More internet bandwidth)

    Suddenly we both love each other! Awww...

  • More people who don't speak English will be on my team in L4D! That's great for teamwork, right?

  • BitTorrent (Score:3, Funny)

    by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton.gmail@com> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:03AM (#29950292) Journal

    And the cable will be full of BitTorrent traffic in 5..4..3...2.. There we go!

    Upgrade time again!

  • Let's just hope this cable doesn't get run by any dolphins or whales, er I mean cows or chickens.
  • I think this is just Google's Glomar Explorer [wikipedia.org]. I'm sure they are not interested at all to be mining all those data packets for intel. This is a complete altruistic - do no evil - venture to improve transatlantic relations

  • Can't wait (Score:3, Interesting)

    by raju1kabir (251972) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:54PM (#29951708) Homepage

    Looking forward to this here in Malaysia. Global Transit's HQ is just 200m from my house. When I see the truck pulling the final bit of cable wet and dripping from its long sea voyage, I'll slip the dudes a few bucks to tap a slice off for me.

    Seriously, though, this is a country where almost all content of interest is foreign: unlike Japan or Thailand, say, there's no significant local-language content industry. Everyone reads English and/or Chinese and therefore skips straight past the homegrown small-potatoes sites, on to the major international sites (in fact I think most Americans would be surprised how well-integrated Malaysians are into the American view of the web). Every little bit of overseas capacity makes a big difference. Most Malaysian users' home broadband is capped to a measly maximum 4mbps because demand for bandwidth so far outstrips supply.

    • Most Malaysian users' home broadband is capped to a measly maximum 4mbps because demand for bandwidth so far outstrips supply.

      Sadly that is higher than many Americans.

      • Yeah, but our neighbours across the southern bridge can get 100mbps [starhub.com], plus look at how happy they are in that photo. I mean, I understand why he's happy, but why are the girls so thrilled? Dude set up their 100mpbs service with a Linksys b/g router that can't push half that speed.

  • 75 million? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adenied (120700) on Monday November 02, 2009 @01:00PM (#29951786)

    The article submitter seems skeptical of 4.8 Tbps being 75 million simultaneous calls.

    So is 4.8 Tbps really 75 million simultaneous phone calls? Let's do some simple calculations. If we want to go with exactly 4.8 Tbps we can say that's 480 OC-192 circuits. An OC-192 is equivalent to 192 DS3s. So that gives us 92,160 DS3s. Each DS3 carries 28 T1s. So that's 2,580,480 T1 circuits. Ignoring signaling channels and going with a standard DS0 signal of 64 kbps you have 24 channels per T1. Uh oh, that only gets us 61,931,520 voice circuits.

    So where do we get 75 million from? Bad math actually, at least as far as any telecom geek is concerned. If you take 4,800,000,000,000 bps and divide that by 64,000 bps you get exactly 75,000,000. This is very simplified though no matter what the technology being used is. It ignores any overhead in framing and other signaling. Be it traditional telecom circuits like DS3s or packet type networks, you're always going to have overhead. You also need signaling channels to control your voice traffic (unless you want to be old school and use in-band MF or DTMF or something, but I digress). If that's SIP or SS7 or Q.931 ISDN D-channels, you're still taking up space with it.

    I guess all this says is what most people on Slashdot probably already know. Bandwidth is just a number. What you can do with it is an entirely different question.

    • Voice conversations are 64 kbps? That seems pretty high, is that assuming fixed bitrate and not variable bitrate?

      • That is the traditional standard for void calls, 8 bits per sample (though the sampling scale isn't linear giving a wider dynamic range), 8KHz sampling rate, no compression (phone network digitisation came before data compression of realtime voice was considered cost effective)

      • by adenied (120700)

        This goes to the core of digital telephony. Analog circuits have a bandwidth of about 4 kHz since human voice falls into a pretty narrow band of audible frequencies between 300 and 3400 Hz. The Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem (usually just called the Nyquist Theorem) states that sampling rate needs to be at least twice the highest frequency, hence an 8 kHz sample rate (note, I'm summarizing here big time). The original digital voice circuits used an 8-bit sample. 8000 * 8 = 64,000.

        ITU-T G.711 is the co

  • I thought all these things went TO Japan, not from it. you know, Godzilla, Mothra, etc.
    Have thay gotten pissed off enough that their sending out their own Transpacific Unity Fiber Optic Cable? Couldn't they have thought of a better and shorter name, like Transpa? It sounds like it doesn't even have atomic breath. What kind of a cheap monster is this, anyway?

  • Great, now the asians can kick my ass at mario kart with less impact on global bandwidth...

  • Has anyone a good link that explains, in some depth, how they do this? You have a ship (or more) and they haul the cable to the surface. OK. But what _exactly_ is involved?

"Life is a garment we continuously alter, but which never seems to fit." -- David McCord

Working...