Tuesday, 11 May 2021

EllaLeaks: A look beneath the surface at the creation of a submarine cable system

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 23 April 21

In the EllaLeak’s series finale, we learned how leading edge technology has been used to light one of the world’s more unique submarine cable systems

With all the hubbub surrounding 5G and full fibre, it is all too easy to forget the vital and often almost invisible role that the submarine cable industry plays in our connected world. Since the mid-19th century, cables have been vital to intercontinental communications, yet many of us, even those within the telecoms industry, would struggle to name a single cable system, much less how they work.    Have you ever wondered…

With all the hubbub surrounding 5G and full fibre, it is all too easy to forget the vital and often almost invisible role that the submarine cable industry plays in our connected world. Since the mid-19th century, cables have been vital to intercontinental communications, yet many of us, even those within the telecoms industry, would struggle to name a single cable system, much less how they work. 
 
Have you ever wondered, for example, how the landing sites for submarine cables are built, or what the inside of a cable deployment vessel looks like? 
 
Well, thanks to the team at EllaLink, now you can wonder no more.
 
Since 2019, EllaLink has been shedding light on the process of creating a submarine cable system through their EllaLeak’s series, which has documented the creation of the EllaLink system over the last two years. In this series of short videos, you can see everything from the techniques used to create the landing station in Sines, Portugal, to how the final two ends of the cable are spliced together.
 
But the Series Finale took EllaLeaks to an even higher interactive level, with the short video format replaced with an interactive panel session, in which the stakeholders elaborated on the process of building the EllaLink system and celebrated its successful launch. 
 
The EllaLink system itself is a unique one. First conceived in 2011, it is the only transatlantic submarine cable to connect Europe directly to South America, without the traditional stopover on the East Coast of the US, and this reduced distance yields many benefits.
 
“One of the most notable things about the EllaLink system is that it was in fact designed to link the research and education networks of Europe and Latin America,” explained Philippe Dumont, EllaLink’s CEO. “It was not strictly, as such, a business need. Now, by directly connecting Europe to Latin America, as opposed to directly taking the two-hop path [...] our promise has always been to cut the latency by half and provide a direct and secure link between the two continents.”
 
Naturally, the research and education will receive the benefits of the EllaLink system’s launch, but the low latency also has major benefits for numerous other industries, including banking, social media, and the gaming sectors.
 
The session continued by exploring every facet of the project, from the impact the cable will make to researchers in Latin America hoping to quickly access large amount of data from CERN in Geneva, to the way in which EllaLink’s GeoLab project is using smart cable technology to measure seismic activity on the sea floor. 
 
“It’s been a great journey and it’s not the end!” said Dumont, thanking all those involved in the project. “We have another 25 years of commercial service to complete and that will be an incredible achievement.” 
 
 
 
To catch up on the Season Finale of EllaLeaks for yourself, register here to watch the full event on demand
 
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