+353-1-416-8900REST OF WORLD
+44-20-3973-8888REST OF WORLD
1-917-300-0470EAST COAST U.S
1-800-526-8630U.S. (TOLL FREE)


Global Super Cables Markets 2019-2020: Re-Imagineering Subsea Systems

  • ID: 4850348
  • Report
  • October 2019
  • Region: Global
  • Information Gatekeepers Inc


  • Amazon
  • FaceBook
  • Google
  • Microsoft

Subsea Cable technology has developed since its inception in the 1850s through several changes to its current form today. It first morphed from copper to coax and then to fiber, where it has been for several years. Now a new kind of the traditional fiber approach is beginning that replaces the current architecture – a re-imagineered future! The result is a future architecture, based on ‘Super Cables’ that offer much higher capacity and almost endless flexibility.

This report provides a discussion, explanation, and forecasts for the latest developments in the subsea cable field. It explains how these developments will work together to meet this structural and growth requirement by ushering in the age of Super Cable. Many alterations have already started; some are just beginning; some are only just now anticipated. Taken together, it amounts to a complete “Re-Imagineering of the Subsea Cable Architecture.”

We use traffic forecasts and the known and deduced business interests of the major players as the drivers for cable growth and make appropriate forecasts on those bases. The design and drivers of the coming Super Cables are detailed. The estimates of the impact of cloud computing and the major companies participating in that area are in the report. The report concludes with specific forecasts for submarine cable construction: likely routes, and likely significant participants. It also includes estimates for cable size changes, a timeline for developments of cable technology, traffic forecasts, and much more.

This report details the components of submarine cable systems, including the cables, the landing equipment, the repeaters, the equalizers, and the branching units. More importantly, this report will detail how that equipment is migrating (some wholly eliminated) and how it is going to change more as the whole subjected is re-imagineered. Detailed lists of vendors of both cables and landing equipment are in the report.

A section of the report is devoted to current activities in cable construction and advances in technology. A great deal of the story treats the primary content provider companies Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon and their current, planned, and forecast business in the submarine cables.

Although it started first (by decades), subsea cable architecture developed mostly independently from terrestrial-based networks and to some extent, somewhat slower. Maybe because, historically, the terrestrial market was much more extensive and growing faster, more was spent on development in that area. Twenty-five years ago, land networks began to go to DWDM and a little more recently to ROADMs and mesh configurations. Subsea systems were much slower to adopt these new and very expansive technologies.

Fairly recently, that developmental separation has begun to change with the adoption of many terrestrial advances by the subsea establishment. Although the virtually same fiber is continuing to be the primary ingredient in subsea cable networks, its manner of use has begun a transformation that is significantly increasing its capacity. Perhaps as importantly, it is becoming much more flexible in application. Changes are coming at a time when they are necessary to meet (and are being driven by) the rapidly expanding and diversifying market of subsea cables. These changes, taken together, will result in the development and deployment of a ‘Super Cable’ that will significantly surpass the capabilities of existing cables. The forecast is that such ‘Super Cables’ will begin implementation within the next 4-5 years, although they are already starting in early-stage versions.

To begin with, the demand for subsea cable service has never been expanding at such a pace. In the late 1980s, subsea cables carried only 2% of international traffic. The rest was on radio and satellites. Now over 95% of all global traffic is on subsea cables and worldwide is the fastest growing traffic segment. Virtually all estimates put the current and foreseeable future subsea cable growth rate at 40%. A 40% growth rate implies a need to double subsea capacity every two years! That is astonishing growth for a technology that is close to 170 years old!

In addition to the growth, the nature of the subsea cable customer is changing. Traditionally the prime (and for most of history, the only) customer had been the major telecommunications companies (and, of course, the military.) Now the prime customers are becoming the mega data centers, primarily owned and operated by the social media/cloud computing providers - Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. These companies are not only customers, but they are so involved that they all are equity owners and active participants in entire subsea cables. No longer is it desirable to bring a subsea cable to a landing station and from there interconnect with the major telecommunications providers. Now the need is to take a significant portion (or the entire cable) directly to a private data center.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown


  • Amazon
  • FaceBook
  • Google
  • Microsoft

1. Introduction

2. History and Background

3. The Changing Subsea Cable Market

  • Cable Ownership
  • FaceBook
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Change in Landing Site Configurations
  • Current Situation
  • Coming Change
  • The Near Future

4. Re-Imagineered Architecture

  • DWDM
  • Coherent Modulation
  • L Band Added to C Band
  • Space Division Multiplexing
  • ROADMs

5. The ‘Super Cable’

  • DWDM
  • L + C Bands
  • Space Division Multiplexing (SDM)
  • Dispersion Compensation
  • Design Tradeoffs for the Super Cable
  • Number of DWDM Channels
  • Width of Channel
  • Repeater Power Feed
  • Branching Units
  • Current Major Cable Design Tradeoffs
  • Implications and Consequences of Super Cable
  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Growth Addition Intervals
  • Upgrade of Existing Cables Market
  • Security
  • Cable Vulnerabilities
  • Natural Disasters and Accidents
  • War or Terror Attacks
  • Eavesdropping

6. Forecasts for Growth

  • US Total Traffic Forecast
  • US International Traffic by Source
  • Growth Areas
  • Pacific growth
  • Latin America Growth
  • European Growth
  • Submarine Cable Forecasts Summary

7. Cable Size Growth

8. One Sour Note

9. Cable and Equipment Providers

  • List of Cable Providers
  • List of Equipment Providers
  • Submarine Cable Optical Equipment Company Directory

10. Current Subsea Cable Situation

  • Cables Planned or Pending
  • Cloud Computing Company Participation
  • Cloud Computing
  • Web-Scaled Datacenter
  • Cloud Computing Data Center
  • Cloud Computing Models
  • Impact of Cloud Computing on Submarine Network Requirements

11. Appendixes

  • Appendix I - Traditional Subsea Cable Components
  • Cable
  • Repeaters
  • Branching Unit
  • Gain Equalizers
  • Cable Types
  • Equipment
  • Landing Equipment Detail
  • Appendix II, Traffic Statistics Relationships
  • SONET/SDH Data Rates
  • Appendix III Internet Traffic Calculations
  • Internet Traffic Calculations
  • Appendix IV – The Lightwave Network Series of Reports

List of Figures
Figure 1: First Submarine Cable
Figure 2: Submarine Cables 2018-19 - A Map
Figure 3: Subsea Cable Consumption by User Type
Figure 4: Forecast Growth of Content Provider's Growth
Figure 5: Subsea Cable Ownership by Company
Figure 6: Construction through 2021 of Subsea Cables by Content Providers by Region
Figure 7: Present Arrangement at Cable Landing Sites
Figure 8: Cable Landing Configuration – Soon
Figure 9: Landing Site at Customer Data Center
Figure 10: Current Largest Cables
Figure 11: DWDM Sketch
Figure 12: Fiber Cable Loss at Various Wavelengths
Figure 13: L and C Wavelengths
Figure 14: ROADM General Design
Figure 15: ROADM Branching Unit Functionality
Figure 16: Super Cable Design - Step 1
Figure 17: Super Cable design - Step 2
Figure 18: Super Cable Design - Step 3
Figure 19: Full Super Cable Design
Figure 20: Major Cables by Year
Figure 21: All forms of US Traffic
Figure 22: US International Traffic by Source
Figure 23: Pacific Growth Area
Figure 24: Subsea Cable Investment Growth Forecast
Figure 25: Cables Needed by Year
Figure 26: Super Cable Development Forecast
Figure 27: Major Submarine Cables by Cloud Computing Companies
Figure 28: Google's Submarine Cable Investments
Figure 29: Hyperscale Datacenter Growth
Figure 30: Global Data Center IP Traffic Growth
Figure 31: Submarine Cable System Expanded Main Components
Figure 32: Repeater Characteristics
Figure 33: Purpose of Branching Units
Figure 34: Branching Unit
Figure 35: Gain Equalizer
Figure 36: Cross Section of Typical Undersea Cable – Shallow Water
Figure 37: Submarine Cable Characteristics
Figure 38: Deep Water Submarine Cable
Figure 39: Types of Submarine Cables
Figure 40: Landing Equipment in a Branched System
Figure 41: Detail of Typical Landing Equipment
Figure 42: Different View of Terminating Equipment
Figure 43: Traffic/Speed Relationships
Figure 44: Example of Various Traffic Sizes
Figure 45: Multiples of Byte
Figure 46: Sonet/SDH Conversions
Figure 47: New Transfer Rate Forecast
Figure 48: Summary of Concepts
Figure 49: Lightwave Network

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
  • Amazon
  • FaceBook
  • Google
  • Microsoft
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown