cable marea

Marea, the submarine megacable of Facebook and Microsoft that will connect Europe and the United States

In previous articles I have talked about big data, cloud computing, Internet of things (IoT), industry 4.0, autonomous vehicles, etc. In this future, that is already present, if there is a constant, it is the need to manage more and more data and in real time, if we want to respond to the challenges that are presented to us. To achieve immediacy and capacity for calculation it is obvious that one of the essential factors is to have more and more efficient communications systems with global coverage. We have the need to have more and more transmission capacity and in real time, because without it, the digital revolution is slowed down.

cable marea

In order to respond to this need, initiatives such as “Marea” appear. Last June, the work to connect, “Marea”, the submarine megacable that will connect Europe and the United States, began in the town of Sopelana, in the Bay of Biscay, 18 kilometers from Bilbao.

Marea is a Microsoft and Facebook project that Telefonica will manage through its affiliate, Telxius, which will sell capacity as part of its infrastructure business.
The deployment of this cable, which as we have said, began last June in the coast of Biscay is expected that in autumn will arrive in Virginia Beach, in the United States.
The intention is that in 2018 Marea will be already operative.

What is Marea?

Marea is a cable of about 10 centimeters of diameter and more than 6,600 kilometers length, that will cross the Atlantic at a maximum depth of 4,000 meters in order to make the world a more open and connected place, since it will allow access to the large data centers installed in the North American market. It will be the largest submarine capacity cable that has ever crossed the Atlantic, consisting of eight pairs of fiber optic cables.

Marea will also have great interoperability capabilities. In this way, various companies can use it relatively easily with different types of equipment.

The cable is made, a priori, for all kinds of dangers and inequities. Designed to withstand the pressure of water, earthquakes or storms, and even shark bites.

What is the capacity?

Marea has an initial capacity of 160 terabits per second (Tbps), the largest in the world, 16 million times faster than a domestic Internet connection.

Thus, perhaps, we cannot imagine the dimensions of its capacity, we can transform it, for example, into the possibility of sending 100,000 million tweets per second or the transmission of 4,000 DVDs per second. It’s not bad at all!

Why is this infrastructure so important?

The project, backed by Facebook and Microsoft, will allow Telxius to sell capacity as part of its business, allowing its clients to benefit from lower costs.

On the other hand, it is a scalable project that can evolve adapted in innovation of optical technologies. Given this, we can conclude that Marea will allow bandwidth growth in a short time.
In addition, these types of connectivity projects are essential for the development of technology products and services in the cloud.
Marea, in particular, will allow a low latency connection that will help with the increased demand for faster speed across the Atlantic, which will improve the reliability of cloud services.

The great challenge. And the interests of Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius

The main objective of the companies involved in this technological project (Facebook, Microsoft and Telefónica through its subsidiary Telxius) is to cover the growing demand for high-speed Internet.
But, are there specific interests on the part of each of the companies embarked upon in this deployment?

The business, on the side of Telxius, is, as I mentioned at the beginning, by selling this service to its wholesale customers.

On the side of Facebook, the largest social network in the world, there is a clear intention to provide video and virtual reality services to its users. Marea will allow increasing the transferability between various data centers; A good example of this, is the data related to the popular social network, Instagram, or the most widely used instant messaging app, WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook.

And what about Microsoft? Marea is the perfect ally to continue the expansion of its services on the Cloud; As the case of Bing or Microsoft Azure.

More efficiency and security than the satellite

Nowadays, almost 99% of the transoceanic data are sent through submarine cables.
One of the main reasons is that the satellite connection has a much smaller capacity and offers a noticeably slower response. This makes it feasible to use it in broadband and real-time applications.

But the key is not alone in speed, also for security. All the information that circulates is a treasure for governments, spyware and hackers. It is much easier to protect a submarine cable than a satellite connection.

This new open and connected world, managed in real time, will increasingly need communication systems like Marea. We are perhaps at the beginning of the era of the global broadband connection. Surely we will see in the near future many “Mareas” throughout the Earth’s oceans. We hope that we make responsible, efficient and safe management of it.

Finally, if you want to take a look at the submarine cables installed around the world, you can see it on this website



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