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Facebook and Microsoft join forces to lay Internet cable across the Atlantic

By Liu Hongzuo - on 27 May 2016, 10:35am

Facebook and Microsoft join forces to lay Internet cable across the Atlantic

Image credit: Microsoft.

Earlier today, Facebook and Microsoft announced their joint efforts to lay a 6,600km-long subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean. The cable was designed to have a capacity of 160Tbps. The cable starts from the United States, and it ends in Southern Europe (Spain).

The undersea cable, MAREA (which means “tide” in Spanish), aims to create even more resilient connection to Microsoft’s cloud services, according to their blog. When Microsoft said cloud services, they meant services like Office 365, Skype, and Xbox Live. MAREA will have an estimated capacity of 160Tbps with its eight fiber pairs for data transmission.

While the undersea cable goes from Virginia, U.S. to Bilbao, Spain, it also connects to network hubs in other parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and of course, Asia. This cable route is physically separate from existing transatlantic cable systems, which adds another line of connectivity. This in turn creates a little more redundancy in the network, which increases the network's resilience against downtime.

Of course, this isn’t the first undersea cable that was announced in 2016 – there’s the SEA-ME-WE 5 that starts from our own backyard, and it will be 20,000km long, spanning across various continents. While SEA-ME-WE 5 is expected to be done by November 2016, the MAREA cable by Facebook and Microsoft will only be completed by October 2017.

Source: Microsoft, The Verge

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