szczys writes: Our global information networks are connected by many many fibre optic cables sitting on the the ocean floor. The precursor to this technology goes all the way back to 1858 when the first telegraph cable connecting North America and Europe was laid. The story of efforts to lay transatlantic cables is fascinating. First attempts were met with many failures including broken cable in the first few miles of installation, and even frying the first successful connection with 2000 volts within a month of completion. But the technology improved quickly and just a century later we laid the first voice cables that used — get this — vacuum tubes in the signal repeaters. This seems a good time to link to one of my favorite-ever pieces in Wired, about a more modern but similarly impressive cable install, as told by Neal Stephenson.
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