Last week the trans-pacific fiber cable system dubbed “FASTER” landed in Chikura and Shima, Japan. This massive fiber-optic system is the collaboration of six companies including: Google, KDDI, Global Transit, China Mobile, China Telecom, and SingTel to improve latency to the region from the United States.
The 60 Tb/s system will offer lower latency, and more stable connectivity to Asia locations. In addition the United States side will extend to numerous major internet hubs on the United States west coast, covering Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. The cable was named ‘FASTER’ to represent the system’s purpose of serving rapidly surging traffic demands.
While the new cable is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables that connects various parts of the world, it’s by far the largest design capacity ever built on the trans-pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the World. FASTER is comprised of six fiber pairs, each capable of a transmission rate of 100 wavelengths at 100 gigabits per second, giving the cable an astonishing 60 terabit-per-second ratings.
Submarine cables are crucial to the structure of how the internet works, and multiple or redundant links are crucial for a proper infrastructure.
In 2008, when submarine cables of SEA-ME-WE-4 were severed near the Alexandria cable landing station in Egypt, the country saw a 60% drop in connectivity, while over half of all internet connectivity to India was lost due to the fiber cut. For numerous days following the incident, speed & data capacity was reduced by 75% in the region, as only one cable was handling the bulk of traffic, being re-routed through the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.