Building Global and Delivering Local

Chris Bayly discusses the convergence of submarine cable and terrestrial infrastructure is evolving to meet global and regional demand.By Chris Bayly
July 24, 2018

How the Convergence of Subsea Cable and Terrestrial Infrastructure Serves the Demands of Both International and Regional Connectivity

Cisco predicts that by 2020, 68 percent of all cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres, 32 percent of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centres, and annual global cloud IP traffic will reach approximately 14.1 ZB, up from 3.9 ZB per year just one year ago.

The cloud, of course, exists largely under the ocean, meaning the globalisation of business and enterprise communications relies more and more upon new and existing subsea cables to deliver much-needed cloud connectivity and move data traffic to established and emerging markets. Moreover, we can anticipate that terrestrial extensions of existing subsea networks, stubbed branching units to facilitate future extensions of cable systems, and even niche cable builds serving regional markets will become necessary to keep pace with the relentlessly growing demands of cloud and OTT content providers.

From a technical perspective, the advent of coherent technology, software-defined networking and 8QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) technology will all contribute to subsea cable systems’ ability to extend long-haul network capacity to meet the present and future needs of web-scale customers. Additionally, as OTT content and cloud service providers continue to move increasingly massive amounts of data, we’re witnessing a convergence between all layers of infrastructure, including submarine cable, colocation facilities, data centres, and long distance terrestrial and metro fibre. In this way, the convergence of subsea cable and terrestrial infrastructure is serving the demands of both international and regional connectivity.

The major driver of the convergence of subsea and terrestrial infrastructure is data centre to data centre interconnectivity, along with a shift in where data centres are located and where submarine cables land. While data centres were initially located close to end users in densely populated cities, this is decreasingly the case. Today, facilities are being built far away from cities to take advantage of more favorable regulatory environments, green, low cost energy and real estate, and tax benefits. But whether a data centre is located in Denmark, Dublin, or New Jersey, U.S., the diversity, reliability and resiliency of a network ultimately determines the quality of the end-user experience.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 101 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 10.