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September 2016 Vol 7 / No. 7

Undersea cables keep global enterprise networks afloat

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a ship drops anchor. The heavy piece of metal falls hundreds of feet to the ocean floor, where it hits a subsea fiber optic cable and severs it. Businesses that depend on the cable for intercontinental communication could -- without sufficient redundant capacity -- lose their primary means of connectivity for weeks. That can mean a lot of money down the drain. In an increasingly global economy, basic business communications and financial transactions happen over networks. And if that traffic is going to another continent, country or region where it has to cross a major body of water, it travels via expensive undersea cables laid on the bottoms of oceans, lakes and seas. Most organizations don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but submarine fiber optic cables deliver 99.8% of all intercontinental communications, according to telecommunications market research and consulting firm TeleGeography. Considering the sheer volume of traffic they carry, the vulnerability of undersea cable systems is...

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