Map of sea cables map of submarine cables In the s, fiber optic cables were developed. The first transatlantic telephone cable to use optical fiber was TAT-8which went into operation in A fiber-optic cable comprises multiple pairs of fibers. Each pair has one fiber in each direction.
These cables form a global infrastructure system that transmits 99 percent of the international data sent over the internet. Should we be concerned? Despite the ominous warnings, defense officials have not provided much specific information about the actual substance of the Russian threat.
In the worst scenario, an attack that cut submarine cables coming into the United States could significantly harm its access to the global internet. Ordinary users would probably experience massive losses in bandwidth, particularly for services such as Google and Facebook that host much of Undersea cables data overseas.
Since most government also relies on commercial internet infrastructure, the outages would also interrupt official communications. Any data hosted outside the U. For people who depend on the internet in daily life, such an attack would be a national disaster.
But it is not clear whether NATO believes Russia has the capability or the intention of attacking cable networks in that fashion. What is known about this problem can be broken down into four categories: In this post, I summarize existing information on each of these and then pose outstanding questions about the potential Russian threat.
Undersea cables earlier piece on Lawfare provides more background on submarine cables as well as the international law protecting them. At DefenseOne, a national security news site from Atlantic Media, Magnus Nordenman detailed how Russia has converted ballistic missile subs to deploy the highly secretive AS Losharik deep-sea submarine.
The Losharik can dive down thousands of meters, enabling it to target cables at depths that would be very difficult to repair. The most prominent Russian spy ship is the Yantar. Classified as an "oceanographic research vessel," the Yantar on its voyage probing a cable route to Cuba provoked some of the first reporting that Russia was targeting cables.
It carries advanced surveillance equipment, including a remotely operated underwater vehicle and two manned submersibles that the BBC reported can dive about 6, meters. For context, the average depth of the ocean floor is about 3, meters. With all its advanced gear, the Yantar has been busy since it came into service in The ship deployed off a U.
The Russian navy is scheduled to complete construction on a second Yantar-class ship in and to begin building a third in Underwater submersibles can damage cables. But it is not certain whether they can tap cable communications underwater in the same way that human operatives can tap fiber-optic cables on land.
A comprehensive and regularly updated interactive map of the world's major submarine cable systems and landing stations. Watch video · BRUSSELS — Russian submarines have dramatically stepped up activity around undersea data cables in the North Atlantic, part of a more aggressive naval posture that has driven NATO to revive. A submarine power cable is a major transmission cable for carrying electric power below the surface of the water. These are called "submarine" because they usually carry electric power beneath salt water (arms of the ocean, seas, straits, etc.) but it is also possible to use submarine power cables beneath fresh water (large lakes and rivers).
The BBC article about the Yantar noted a Russian report that the ship has devices that can tap undersea cables to obtain the data flowing through them. Thousands of meters underwater this would be impossible for a diver or clumsy submersible.
The New York Times reported in that the USS Jimmy Carter, a highly advanced submarine that was the only one of its class built, had a capability to tap undersea cables.
An Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers report speculated that a foot extension added to the Jimmy Carter provided this capability by allowing engineers to bring the cable up into a floodable chamber to install a tap. There are no reports of Russian subs with similar capabilities.
Submersibles would be too small to have the same kind of chamber as the Jimmy Carter. Therefore, it is not at all certain if Russia can credibly claim that the Yantar can tap cables.
What is Russia targeting? The Russian naval activity is probably not aimed solely at commercial communications cables. Other reports suggested that Russian naval activity was targeting military-operated cables that do not show up on normal maps.
These systems would likely be highly classified. The Pentagon has laid publicly acknowledged cables connecting Miami to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay and is planning a cable from Guantanamo to Puerto Rico. But it is not clear if these are the only cables that agency manages. In addition to cables, the Russian activity may be directed at military underwater sensing equipment.
It was a potent tool for tracking Soviet submarines during the Cold War and only because of information provided by a submarine officer turned Soviet spy. Earlier this year, an expert on the Russian military recounted that during the s, U.
With the dramatic increase in Russian submarine activity in recent years, the system is newly relevant to the U. Effects of a potential attack on undersea cables Hundreds of cables criss-cross the oceans.
They provide the connectivity that allows Microsoft to keep major data centers in Ireland and to have that data nearly instantly accessible to U. Although each undersea cable transmits huge quantities of data, the cable network has significant redundancy capacity.A submarine power cable is a major transmission cable for carrying electric power below the surface of the water.
These are called "submarine" because they usually carry electric power beneath salt water (arms of the ocean, seas, straits, etc.) but it is also possible to use submarine power cables beneath fresh water (large lakes and rivers).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and various agencies are involved in the oversight of the submarine cables and/or other undersea activities that may impact submarine cable infrastructure.
The FCC’s International Bureau grants licenses authorizing cable landing license applicants to own and operate submarine cables and . A comprehensive and regularly updated interactive map of the world's major submarine cable systems and landing stations.
The modern system of undersea cables has its roots in the telegraph. The first transatlantic communications cable was completed in the summer of , running under .
Mar 04, · The information age is powered by fiber-optic cables buried in the sea bed. This incredible map reveals the sprawling network of the underwater Internet. A comprehensive and regularly updated interactive map of the world's major submarine cable systems and landing stations.