Fiber Cable Manufacturer
1-288 cores GYFTY non-metallic Optical Fiber Cable
Central strength member
Vary from 7 to 14mm
aerial or pipeline cable networking system
1/2/3/4/5km km each exporting wooden drums
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Modern fiber-optic cable around Africa's coast.
A map of active and anticipated submarine communications cables servicing the African continent.
Almost all fiber optic cables from TAT-8 in 1988 until approximately 1997 were constructed by "consortia" of operators. For example, TAT-8 counted 35 participants including most major international carriers at the time such as AT&T Corporation. Two privately financed, non-consortium cables were constructed in the late 1990s, which preceded a massive, speculative rush to construct privately financed cables that peaked in more than $22 billion worth of investment between 1999 and 2001. This was followed by the bankruptcy and reorganization of cable operators such as Global Crossing, 360networks, FLAG, Worldcom, and Asia Global Crossing.
There has been an increasing tendency in recent years to expand submarine cable capacity in the Pacific Ocean (the previous bias always having been to lay communications cable across the Atlantic Ocean which separates the United States and Europe). For example, between 1998 and 2003, approximately 70% of undersea fiber-optic cable was laid in the Pacific. This is in part a response to the emerging significance of Asian markets in the global economy.
Although much of the investment in submarine cables has been directed toward developed markets such as the transatlantic and transpacific routes, in recent years there has been an increased effort to expand the submarine cable network to serve the developing world. For instance, in July 2009, an underwater fiber optic cable line plugged East Africa into the broader Internet. The company that provided this new cable was SEACOM, which is 75% owned by Africans. The project was delayed by a month due to increased piracy along the coast.
Antarctica is the only continent yet to be reached by a submarine telecommunications cable. All phone, video, and e-mail traffic must be relayed to the rest of the world via satellite links that have limited availability and capacity. Bases on the continent itself are able to communicate with one another via radio, but this is only a local network. To be a viable alternative, a fiber-optic cable would have to be able to withstand temperatures of −80 °C (-112°F) as well as massive strain from ice flowing up to 10 meters (30 feet) per year. Thus, plugging into the larger Internet backbone with the high bandwidth afforded by fiber-optic cable is still an as-yet infeasible economic and technical challenge in the Antarctic.
NASA's OPALS announced a breakthrough in space-to-ground communication December 9, 2014, uploading 175 megabytes in 3.5 seconds. Their system is also able to re-acquire tracking after the signal was lost due to cloud cover.
In January 2013, NASA used lasers to beam an image of the Mona Lisa to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter roughly 390,000 km (240,000 mi) away. To compensate for atmospheric interference, an error correction code algorithm similar to that used in CDs was implemented.
A two-way distance record for communication was set by the Mercury laser altimeter instrument aboard the MESSENGER spacecraft, and was able to communicate across a distance of 24 million km (15 million miles), as the craft neared Earth on a fly-by in May, 2005. The previous record had been set with a one-way detection of laser light from Earth, by the Galileo probe, of 6 million km in 1992. Quote from Laser Communication in Space Demonstrations (EDRS)
Various planned satellite constellations such as SpaceX's Starlink intended to provide global broadband coverage employ laser communication for inter-satellite links between the several hundred to thousand satellites effectively creating a space-based optical mesh network.