In his novel, Tubes: a journey to the center of the internet, author Andrew Blum takes readers on an insider’s tour of the internet, detailing everything that is required for it to operate and keep up with demand. After reading, most people don’t open emails the same ever again.
As global data centre infrastructure continues to expand, meeting consumer demand, there are growing concerns that the existing sub-sea cable system is struggling to keep up. As a result, some of the big technology companies are taking matters into their own hands: the likes of Facebook and Google are looking to lay their own fibre.
This raises the question of whether existing sub-sea cable system is robust enough to support the growing data centre demands put upon it in the mid- and long-term?
Current global submarine cable infrastructure is “woefully insufficient” to support medium-term capacity requirements, according to Tim Stronge, VP of research at research and consulting firm, TeleGeography.
Thanks in large part to content and cloud provider capacity requirements, he says that the sector as a whole is “running out of spare fibre pairs” but adds that “fortunately, this problem is being addressed. There are lots of cables being built with more planned.”
Others believe the rapid digital evolution taking place will also reinforce the need for cabling infrastructure.
“Our industry expects power consumption and data processing to triple in the next five to 10 years as one billion more people come online in developing countries, and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT), driverless cars, robots, video surveillance and artificial intelligence grows exponentially,” says Peder Nærbø, founder and chairman at industrial group, Bulk Infrastructure.
“Although universal wireless internet and information sent by lasers through thin air may sound appealing, we believe a fibre infrastructure is the immediate future of fast internet.”