Wednesday, March 21, 2012

60 Milli Seconds

Bathymetric/topographic map of the Arctic Ocea...Bathymetric/topographic map of the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding islands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The ocean route might make sense for inter-continental destinations, but I think air is still the best option for dense cities.

ExtremeTech: $1.5 billion: The cost of cutting London-Toyko latency by 60ms
the first ever trans-Arctic Ocean submarine fiber optic cables ...... a smattering of branches that will provide high-speed internet access to a handful of Arctic Circle communities ....... All three cables are being laid for the same reasons: Redundancy and speed. As it stands, it takes roughly 230 milliseconds for a packet to go from London to Tokyo; the new cables will reduce this by 30% to 170ms. This speed-up will be gained by virtue of a much shorter run: Currently, packets from the UK to Japan either have to traverse Europe, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean, or the Atlantic, US, and Pacific, both routes racking up around 15,000 miles in the process. It’s only 10,000 miles (16,000km) across the Arctic Ocean, and you don’t have to mess around with any land crossings, either. ...... The massive drop in latency is expected to supercharge algorithmic stock market trading, where a difference of a few milliseconds can gain (or lose) millions of dollars. It is for this reason that a new cable is currently being laid between the UK and US — it will cost $300 million and shave “just” six milliseconds off the fastest link currently available. The lower latency will also be a boon to other technologies that hinge heavily on the internet, such as telemedicine (and teleconferencing) and education. Telephone calls and live news coverage would also enjoy the significantly lower latency. Each of the fiber optic cables will have a capacity in the terabits-per-second range ..... Currently, almost every cable that lands in Asia goes through a choke point in the Middle East or the Luzon Strait between the Philippine and South China seas. If a ship were to drag an anchor across the wrong patch of seabed, billions of people could wake up to find themselves either completely disconnected from the internet or surfing with dial-up-like speeds. The three new cables will all come down from the north of Japan, through the relatively-empty Bering Sea — and the Arctic Ocean, where each of the cables will run for more than 5,000 miles, is one of the least-trafficked parts of the world. That said, the cables will still have to be laid hundreds of meters below the surface to avoid the tails of roving icebergs
New Scientist: Fibre optics to connect Japan to the UK – via the Arctic
In mid-August, construction should start on the first submarine fibre-optic cables to cross the Arctic Ocean ....... The longest of these links will become the world's longest single stretch of optical fibre. ....... the biggest threats to cables in warmer waters: fishing trawlers and ships' anchors ........ Reduced transmission time will be a boon for high-frequency traders who will gain crucial milliseconds on each automated trade. Optical amplifiers will boost signal strength every 50 to 100 kilometres. The firm also plans to drill a tunnel 40 metres deep to take a shortcut through the Boothia isthmus in the Canadian Arctic ....... Isolated Arctic communities will also be connected by extra sections of cable that branch off from the main one. ........ "choke points" such as the Luzon strait near Taiwan, the strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia, and the crowded and politically unsettled Middle East. ....... Ships must be built to withstand the pounding of ice as well as waves. ...... Icebergs can plough more than a metre into the ocean floor, endangering cables. Greenland's icebergs extend to depths as great as 170 metres below the sea surface, so Arctic Fibre will lay cable at least 600 metres deep in the Davis strait, where icebergs are most likely. The underside of sea ice also has ridges, or "bummocks", that reach depths of 18 metres, so Arctic Fibre aims to stay at least 50 metres down.
Ars Technica: Europe moving 60 ms closer to Japan with new undersea cables
The climate change-induced retreat of Arctic ice has had one positive effect. The Arctic Ocean is now sufficiently navigable that cable-laying ships will be able to plant undersea cables directly linking London with Tokyo. ...... 6 pairs of fibers with a 1.6 Tbit/s capacity per pair will be laid, and minimum latency between London and Tokyo will be 76.58 milliseconds.

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