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article imageMicrosoft's undersea cable achieves record transfer speeds

By Tim Sandle     Feb 28, 2019 in Technology
Microsoft and Facebook’s jointly-owned transatlantic undersea cable has broken another another record in relation to data transfer speeds. A speed of 26.2 Terabits per second was achieved.
Facebook, Microsoft, and Telxius jointly own a sophisticated undersea data cable, called Marea. The cable weighs around 10.25 million pounds (the equivalent of 34 blue whales) and is positioned more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface, stretching between Bilbao, Spain and Virginia Beach.
The cable is said to be the "most technologically advanced subsea cable," providing, what was thought, up to 160 terabits (Tbps) of data per second. This is more advanced that Google's alternative so-termed "Faster" cable.
The cable is now faster than originally designed - by 20 percent. A recent experiment demonstrated that the cable is able to achieve as much as 26.2 Teribits per second on a single per optic fiber. Extrapolated, this means that entire 4,000 mile long cable, could potentially hit a data transfer rate of more than 200 Tbps.
This is due to a 16QAM modulation, which was set-up by the research group Infinera. QAM modulation stands for 'quadrature amplitude modulation', and it refers to the name of a family of digital modulation methods used in modern telecommunications to transmit information. QAM utilises both amplitude and phase components to provide a form of modulation that is able to provide high levels of spectrum usage efficiency.
According to The Verge, the results are significant for two reasons. First, the super-fast speed was demonstrated on an existing cable. This means that data cables can potentially be improved without the need for rebuilds. The second aspect is that the speeds were demonstrated on a cable spanning such a long distance.
The latest feat was, nonetheless, an experiment. It will be some time before the speeds demonstrated in the recent pilot become commonplace.
More about Microsoft, Facebook, Undersea, Data, Undersea cable
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