Letter to a friend:


My friend,

100X100 is not the shape and surface of my garden or the size of my town square, but the new transmission capacity of our submarine fibers: 100 wavelengths at 100 Gigabits/s. Amazing!

You most likely red the announcement by Emerald and TE Subcom related to the construction of a new transatlantic cable by the northern route, Canada to UK with an Iceland spur. My instinctive reaction was “Tyco has found a powerful way to react to the Hibernia Express being laid by Huawei Marine.“ The new system posesses similar language (Express, Low latency), similar route and the same timing, but much larger capacity. It is now clear that this is not the case. The herein press release tells us the full story behind the new transatlantic project!

“The Emerald Express system’s combination of a 100x100G per fiber pair design and ‘great circle’ routing for optimized trans-Atlantic low latency will enable Emerald Atlantis to meet the tremendous demand for bandwidth driven by cloud services, while providing Iceland with the required connectivity to support the anticipated explosive growth of low cost, 100% carbon free, renewable energy powered data centers, in which the Wellcome Trust, Emerald Atlantis’ largest shareholder and strategic partner, has a major investment,” said Greg Varisco, EA, President.

It is all about cloud services and big data centers to be installed in Iceland, taking advantage of low cost energy. Then the 100X100!

I sort of like this 100X100. Simple, clear, square! I need to congratulate whomever chose this formula, the same way I think the “cloud” is a very well designed word! We used to have 96 or 128, figures which had a kind of technical logic behind them. I can only guess that there is a gentle touch of marketing skill behind this 100x100. “Could you give me two more for the same price?” “No, I rounded off already for you.” I adhere to this new slogan 100 per cent! Big pipes to send our data in the clouds, hoping that it will not turn into a storm of heavy rain falling on our heads.

Once again, our industry is at a significant technology change, swiftly moving from 10G to 40G and now 100G! But it could be also a more fundamental evolution: A new generation for routes and applications! Will Iceland be a very special case, the only one, or are we going to see new submarine cables route reaching data centers located in very remote and exotics places for all kind of good reasons?

Could we see the global network being reconfigured by such a phenomenon? What do you think my friend?

Jean Devos

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