Three advancements in subsea network infrastructure design and deployment

Subsea networks play a crucial role in linking people and organisations around the globe, enabling the transport of large quantities of data and communications. Subsea network design and implementation have advanced significantly in recent years, resulting in more resilient, efficient, and cost-effective infrastructure. In this piece – which is the third of SUBCO’s ten-part series on submarine cable optimisation and diversity – we highlight three major advancements in the design and deployment of subsea network infrastructure.

1. Enhanced fibre optic technology

The utilisation of superior optical fibre cable technology is one of the most significant advancements in subsea network infrastructure architecture. New fibre optic cables have been designed that are more resilient, can tolerate higher depths and pressures, and are less susceptible to environmental influences such as ocean currents and temperature variations. These developments have allowed subsea networks to be deployed in more distant and difficult areas, boosting the reach and dependability of underwater communications. The use of modular and scalable architecture is another advance in subsea network infrastructure design. Modular designs make upgrading and expanding subsea networks easier, allowing operators to adapt to changing demands and technological improvements. This has boosted subsea network flexibility and efficiency, making it simpler to fulfil the expanding demand for data and communications.

2. Efficient installation methods

Advances in underwater installation methods have also had an influence on the deployment of subsea networks. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have reduced the costs and dangers associated with traditional ways of installing and repairing subsea networks. These developments have also enabled the deployment of subsea networks in deeper oceans, which were previously inaccessible. Furthermore, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in subsea network deployment has grown in popularity. These technologies are being utilised to improve the design and deployment of subsea networks, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective infrastructure. AI and machine learning are also used to monitor and manage subsea networks, decreasing the need for manual intervention and increasing the dependability of underwater communications.

3. Use of data centres and edge computing

The usage of data centres and edge computing is another significant advance in subsea network deployment. Data centres are being built closer to the shore, making data transfer to and from subsea networks quicker and more dependable. Edge computing is also being utilised to analyse data closer to the source, decreasing the requirement for data to be sent across long distances and boosting subsea network efficiency. In addition to this, advances in cybersecurity have had an influence on the implementation of subsea networks. The growing threat of cyberattacks, as well as the sensitive nature of data sent across subsea networks, have increased the emphasis on cybersecurity. To safeguard the security and privacy of data carried through subsea networks, operators are investing in sophisticated cybersecurity solutions such as encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Ultimately, advances in subsea network infrastructure design and implementation have had a significant influence on submarine connection. Advanced optical fibre cable technologies, modular and scalable infrastructure, underwater installation technologies, AI and ML, data centres and edge computing, and cybersecurity have all made it possible to build more efficient, dependable, and secure subsea networks. These developments will continue to fuel the construction of new subsea networks and the growth of underwater connection in the future.

Stay tuned for the next article in SUBCO’s ten-part series on submarine optimisation and deployment, where we look at bridging the digital divide: The role of diverse undersea cable networks.

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