It can be truly amazing to learn how our world is totally connected by the internet at this point. It can be awe inspiring enough to realize you may be purchasing items from across the globe through an internet site, or chatting with someone who is thousands of miles away. But to wrap your mind around how this type of connectivity actually comes into existence can be even more magical.
Ships And Cable
A very large cargo ship is fed cable from the port to storage units. It is a very tedious process because the cable has to be long enough to stretch to another continent and is very delicate. It can often be as long, or longer than 5000 kilometers. The ships are custom built for slowly dropping cable and for the storage of the cable.
The cable is very difficult to make, it needs delicate touch and very technical machines. But once it is made the cable is capable of sending pulses back and forth over thousands of miles at an astonishing speed. Many strands of this fiber optic cable, which is very fine, are wound together so that large amounts of data are able to travel the course of it and keep people in communication across the globe.
How Is It Protected
The ocean is not a place for fine cable that is easy to snap. Something has to be done to make it durable enough to lie under all that water in a tough environment. High grade steel is fed through pulleys to become ribbon that folds around the fiber optic strands. After this there is a tiny weld that seals it up and then it is wrapped in water proof coating.
Keeping the line from getting tangled is not an easy task. It boards the boat at 100 meters per minute and is fed below deck. Here are two very massive tanks that store the cable that can stretch from England to America. To store this cable in the tanks without any tangling takes a very precise arrangement. A team of workers will pace around the tanks winding the cable up precisely; they take turns for breaks that include eating and bathroom trips. They will work non-stop for three weeks to make sure that the cable is loaded in such a way as to keep it from getting tangled.
The Final Steps To Laying Cable Across The Sea
Amplifiers are stored on deck of these large ships to be put into use when the cable starts to be laid. These are spaced along the cables to insure that the signal doesn’t lose its strength over such a long distance. Each amplifier boosts the signal back up to its original strength. The workers have been trained in such a manner that they even have hand signals to easily communicate what is going on with the loading and unloading because it is such a delicate process. The cargo ship will cross the ocean slowly placing the cable down and this will take seven months of travel time.