The Stack Archive

Google and Facebook to build fastest trans-Pacific submarine network

Thu 13 Oct 2016

Hong Kong Los Angeles

Internet giants Google and Facebook have teamed up to invest in an undersea fibre optic cable network connecting Los Angeles and Hong Kong – in what is expected to be the fastest ever trans-Pacific submarine connection.

The new Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will span almost 12,800km between the two cities, is scheduled to go live in 2018 and will offer an estimated bandwidth of 120TBps – doubling the record speed held by the current highest-capacity route, FASTER.

With the support of submarine cable specialists TE SubCom and Pacific Light Data Communication, the PLCN will feature the former’s latest C+L band optical technology, which has been designed to double the available bandwidth per fibre pair across traditional C-band systems.

According to Google, the PLCN is expected to deliver enough capacity for Hong Kong to conduct 80 million concurrent HD video conference calls with Los Angeles.

‘From data centers to cables under the sea, we’re dedicated to building infrastructure that reaches more people than ever before,’ wrote Google’s director of networking infrastructure, Brian Quigley, in the tech firm’s official blog post.

‘From the get-go, PLCN is designed to accommodate evolving infrastructure technology, allowing us to independently choose network equipment and refresh optical technology as it advances. Most importantly, PLCN will bring lower latency, more security, and greater bandwidth to Google users in the APAC region,’ he added.

Google currently backs five further undersea cable projects in its aim to drive global connectivity and increase the speed and reliability of data. These networks include FASTER, MONET, Unity, SJC and Tannat [Portuguese].

Google’s original trans-Pacific cable project FASTER, which became fully operational this year, is designed to offer capacity of 60TBps between the U.S. and Japan. For now, the project stretches between several Japanese areas including Chikura and Shima, to Taiwan and west coast U.S. cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, and will likely expand further into Asia in the future.


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