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Microsoft and Facebook undersea cable breaks data transfer speed record

By DPennington ยท 8 replies
Feb 28, 2019
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  1. In 2016, Facebook and Microsoft joined forces to build and deploy the highest-capacity undersea cable in history, dubbed the MAREA cable. The cable spans from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain, and had a design capacity of 160 Tbps, with each of the line's eight fiber optic pairs capable of 20 Tbps.

    Thanks to a recent experiment using 16 QAM modulation, the transatlantic cable was able to achieve speeds that are 20 percent faster than those theoretical maximums. The experiment achieved a data transfer rate of 26.2 Tbps on one of the fiber pairs.

    The MAREA cable, which was conceived in order to help meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed connections to the cloud, was able to reach these transfer rates with no physical modifications to the line. This is significant because it suggests that other undersea lines may be able to achieve speed upgrades without having to spend hundreds of millions on laying new cable.

    Average transfer rates on the MAREA cable are currently "only" 9.5 Tbps, so it will likely be some time before the speeds demonstrated in the experiment become commonplace.

    Permalink to story.

  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,542   +424

  3. Plutoisaplanet

    Plutoisaplanet TS Booster Posts: 102   +78

    Hint: 26 Tbps is 30% faster than 20 Tbps, not 20%.
    mattsie and Aus spot like this.
  4. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Evangelist Posts: 696   +500

    I noticed this too but I think they didn't explain clearly enough. There's 8 fiber optic pairs and it says it got the 26Tbps speed on "one of the fiber pairs". I'm guessing overall they ended up with about a 20% total speed increase across all the lines.
    Teko03 and DPennington like this.
  5. DPennington

    DPennington TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 88   +32

    You're both right. The source doesn't explain where they came up with the 20% number and I didn't want to speculate on it. For the one fiber pair, they gave the example of a ~30% lift, but the overall increase across the line may have been 20%. The total bandwidth across all eight pairs wasn't reported, at least not via any source I could find.
    Plutoisaplanet likes this.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,129   +2,420

    When can I get one of these installed at my home? ;):laughing:
  7. Plutoisaplanet

    Plutoisaplanet TS Booster Posts: 102   +78

    Appreciate the clarification!
  8. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 281   +119

    Hello from the Submarine Cable Industry.

    We would be only too happy to provide you with as large a network as you would like, we offer a complete turn-key solution to your networking needs, to however many landing stations you like, but unless your surname ends in *ates, *Bin'Adulla-something, or *ump, forgive me if I don't take your inquiry too seriously. :)

    Might I ask, what would you even do with a single 400Gb/s wave, let alone a complete 40+ channel system?

    Try pricing a Cisco CSR router, with appropriate interfaces [and licenses for that bit rate! (misnomer used by Cisco - bandwidth)], and let me know what you find...

    Time for the pub.
  9. Mithan

    Mithan TS Enthusiast Posts: 71   +44

    Pretty cool. I've worked on the Nokia 1830 (TOADM based 44channel DWDM) extensively but for the most part, the largest services we have are 100GB pipes.

    5G is going to blow things apart because the average cell site will require multiple 10GB links.

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