Continued… Part III – Sub-Cable Network Familiarization (History)

To familiar with Submarine Cable Network, let’s start with the most important component of the network/system that is Submarine Telecommunications Cables.

For today post, I’ll discuss on a brief history of Submarine Telecommunications Cables so that we can have a better understanding from the history perspective. The era of seabed cables began around 1850, when the first international telegraph cable was laid across the English Channel.

  • 1840-1850: telegraph cables laid in rivers & harbors; limited life, improved with use of gutta percha insulation c.1843
Harvesting gutta percha resin

Harvesting gutta percha resin

  • 1850-1851: 1 st international telegraph link, connecting England-France across the English Channel, later cables joined other European countries & USA with Canada
Cables from UK-France link in 1850 (a) and 1851 (b)

Cables from UK-France link in 1850 (a) and 1851 (b)

  • 1858: 1st trans-Atlantic cable laid by Great Eastern, between Ireland & Newfoundland. Unfortunately this cable lasted only a few days before it was cut by a curious fisherman who thought he had discovered a new kind of seaweed and wanted to take a sample.  Failed after 26 days & new cable laid in 1866.
Great Eastern off Newfoundland c. 1858

Great Eastern off Newfoundland c. 1858

Atlantic cable 1866

Atlantic cable 1866

  • 1884: First underwater telephone cable service from San Francisco to Oakland
  • 1920s: Short-wave radio superseded cables for voice, picture & telex traffic, but capacity limited & subject to atmospheric effects
  • 1956: Invention of repeaters (1940s) & their use in TAT-1, the 1 st trans-Atlantic telephone cable, began era of rapid reliable communications
  • 1961: Beginning of high quality, global network
  • 1986: First international fiber-optic cable joins Belgium & UK
  • 1988: First trans-oceanic fibre-optic system (TAT-8) begins service in the Atlantic

Source: International Cable Protection Committee Ltd

To be continued… Part IV– Sub-Cable Network Familiarization (Sub-Cable Components)

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