These cables date back in history to 1858 when they were first installed to support the international telegraph system, with the British taking the lead to wire the far reaches of its empire. Today a multi-billion dollar shipping industry continues to lay and maintain hundreds of such cables that crisscross the planet – over half a million miles of such cables are draped along the ocean floor and snaked around coastlines – to make landfall at special locations to be connected to national telecommunications systems.
The original cables were made of copper but about 25 years ago, they were replaced by fibre-optic cables. The oldest undersea cable was Trans Atlantic-8 (installed in 1988 by AT&T to transmit data from
The latest cables like
In order to make sure that data and voice are transmitted quickly and accurately across the world even if cables break or equipment fails, cable companies break the data into separate tiny packets that are dispatched over what they call “redundant fibre optic paths” across the ocean before it is captured and re-assembled on the other side, where it also becomes easy to intercept the data unobtrusively.
This is where Glimmerglass, a northern
Their patented “3D Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System (MEMS) mirror array” is composed of 210 gold-coated mirrors mounted on microscopic hinges, each measuring just one millimeter in diameter, etched on a single wafer of silicon.
Each mirror can be individually managed by remote operators anywhere in the world to capture or bounce the light signals and even more importantly, communicate with the other mirrors to make sure that the rest of the array stays in place, allowing very accurate data transmission. This technology slashed the cost of optical switching by a factor of 100, and the company claims that the switches are very robust with an expected failure rate of once in 30 years.
For telecommunication companies, Glimmerglass offers three hardware racks to handle optical data – the entry level “100” system which can handle as many as 96×96 fibre ports for traffic as high as 100 gigabits per second all the way up to the “600” system which can handle 192×192 fibre ports. It also offers the “3000” system which can hold up to 12 racks.
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