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Sharks take bite out of global communications

Great white in Indian Ocean
Great white in Indian OceanPhoto by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Sharks take bite out of human communications
Sharknado may have taken the internet by storm, but in reality, sharks have been reigning havoc against global communications in ways most people have been unaware of for decades.
While sharks have been known to bite into underwater communication cables (at least) since the 1980’s, it now seems that fiber-optic cables have more of a lure for them than the old copper cables did. The reason may not be so much as they have become more aggressive, but rather in the fact that minute signal receptors known as ampullae of Lorenzini located in their snouts to detect prey may “mistake the high-voltage, magnetic emissions from fiber-optic cables with the signals given off by fish.” As a result, communications giants including Google have been investing billions of dollars to find new ways to protect their lines of worldwide communication according to company product manager Dan Belcher, who noted that the company is currently working on a way to wrap their cables in a “Kevlar-like” material to protect them.

In fact. Google’s reinforced cables will be installed as part of a new $300 million FASTER system that will connect the United States to two landing locations in Sima and Chikura, Japan.capable of “sending information across the Pacific Ocean at 60 terabytes per second.” In a news release issued by NEC Corporation, acting as the system supplier, this new cable system “will feature seamless connectivity to many neighboring cable systems to extend the capacity beyond Japan to other Asian locations, as well as extending connections in the United States to major hubs covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas.”

The project is part of a deal signed by a consortium of 6 major communications companies including China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and SingTel to fulfill the surging internet traffic demand. The project is currently underway and is expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2016.