In 2018, Google announced two private intercontinental subsea cables; becomes the first large non-telecom company to build its own after years of leasing or consortia. The second, called Dunant, will have record capacity by being the first cable to utilize space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology.
Update 2/3/21: After distribution and testing, the Dunant cable system is now “ready for service.” Google says partner SubCom was able to stay “on track despite the ongoing global pandemic.”
Original 4/5/19: Dunant ranges from Virginia Beach in the USA to a landing station on the west coast of France. It is particularly close to the GCP regions of Northern Virginia and Belgium. Google Cloud ordered it to add capacity and supplement one of the busiest routes on the internet.
In financing its own cable, instead of buying capacity on an existing one or building with a consortium, Google has full control over routing and guaranteed bandwidth. This transatlantic cable will transmit 250 Terabit data per second thanks to space-division multiplexing (SDM). That record capacity is equivalent to transferring the entire digitized Congress Library three times every second.
Instead of six or eight fiber pairs, SDM 12 allows in a cost-effective way through power-optimized repeater designs that share resources. As previously announced, Google is working with SubCom to design, manufacture and install the Dunant cable.
Traditional submarine cables are driven from the land end and rely on a dedicated set of pump lasers to amplify the optical signal for each fiber pair as data crosses the cable length. SDM technology now allows pump lasers and associated optical components to be shared between multiple fiber pairs, while still operating within the unique power constraints of the ocean floor.
The 6,400 km long cable will be online in the third quarter of 2020 and is named after Red Cross founder Henry Dunant. Meanwhile, Curie – named after the physicist and chemist – will go live later this year. In this case, Google decided to build its own cable between the United States and Chile due to a lack of existing infrastructure.
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