Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

When A Cable Dies 88

Posted by timothy
from the of-australian-interest dept.
highpingbastard writes: "Staff at Australian telecommunications carrier Telstra are going to hold a decomissioning ceremony for a 25-year-old voice and data cable spanning between Australia and New Zealand that died yesterday. Telstra was still using the 2Mbps cable as a backup circuit up until the time it was cut, probably by a ship's anchor. In general, undersea cables have a 25-year life span. A chance for all involved in the cable's long life to get closure. Australia's fastest looped network to the U.S., the (flash animation warning) Southern Cross Network Cable, also went down for 15 hours after it was snagged at the same time. It is supposed to have a 99.999 per cent network availability, or downtime amounting to 50 minutes over 10 years. Doh! That's 300 years' worth in one hit by my calculation ..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

When A Cable Dies

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    50 minutes every ten years and 15 hours downtime 15 * 60 = 900 900 / 50 = 18 18 * 10 years = 180 years not 300
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I see these things about undersea cables and the like, it makes me think that such links as the US to Europe are only served by a few cables... It seems so easy to knock out such important connections! Also, when you see the dates the first cables to some places were put in, it makes you think that we haven't had this worldwide communications we're so used to for that long- 50 years isn't THAT LONG!
  • I used to work at a law firm that did a lot of telecommunicatinos business and I can assure that rights of way for laying any kind of communications cable are very expensive. Thus telecom's often lay in the same places. They know the landowners who have sold right of ways before and use those land owners. In the continental US a ridiculous amount of cable is laid within 500 feet of railroad tracks.
  • The answer to this is in the article linked by the post immediately above you (right now). All undersea cables are clearly marked on standard navigation charts. You are supposed to own and follow those charts if you run a ship, which includes not knowingly dropping your anchor near delicate cables. If you do snag one it is therefore entirely your own fault and the telecom company will now hurl a lawsuit at you.

  • Also known as "Neal suckers Wired into paying him to do the background research for Cryptonomicon." ;)

    Not that I have a problem with that. It's one of the best feature articles I've ever read. Damned good book, too.

    Don Negro

  • "... also went down for 15 hours after it was snagged at the same time. It is supposed to have a 99.999 per cent network availability, or downtime amounting to 50 minutes over 10 years. Doh! That's 300 years' worth in one hit by my calculation ..."

    What sort of crazy calculation is that? 15 hours downtime is 900 minutes. That's 180 years worth.

  • Really?

    Here you go:

    http://www.api.faa.gov/sth/sth9-10.htm
  • > the telecom company will now hurl a lawsuit at
    >you.

    What jurisdiction will entertain a lawsuit
    in international waters?

  • It's not piracy, it's unauthorized copyright infr...oh wait, this really would be piracy. Never mind :)

    Remember: it's a "Microsoft virus", not an "email virus",

  • I want to buy a decomissioned submarine -- a diesel one -- and sneak around the globe snipping transoceanic cables. Cyberterrorism of the physical kind. Cut them in two places, several miles apart so that repair is virtually impossible. After ruining a few gigabits worth of transcontinental traffic, start demanding money from the data carriers who own and operate the cables. Boy would it be fun. And profitable.

    -Chris
    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • SCC is 60Gbps and is primarily used by Optus.

    http://it.mycareer.com.au/breaking/2001/07/30/FFX9 39Y4RPC.html [mycareer.com.au]
  • by CrosseyedPainless (27978) on Monday July 30, 2001 @05:22AM (#2184094) Homepage
    Mother Earth Mother Board [wired.com]

    Mandatory reading for N.S. fans.
  • Not only that, but it seems that 99.999% uptime would be 5 minutes per 10 years, not 50 minutes.

    bash-2.04$ bc
    bc 1.06
    Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
    For details type 'warranty'.

    60*24*365.25
    525960.00
    scale=6
    525960*.99999
    525954.74040
    525960-525954.74
    5.26

  • Another excellent read on the trials and tribulations of the cable layers comes ironically enough from Arthur C. Clarke (yes, the grandfather of the communications satellite & "2001" author, among others). It's called _How the World was One: Beyond the Global Village_ and is unfortunately out of print as far as I can tell. It did show up on Amazon's book seller search though.

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • This week a boat anchor brings down an internet in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Last week a flaming train (but not a flaming goatse.cx ;-) brings down another internet in North America.

    Still later this week, inbreeding amongst network capital equipment vendors leads to crippling genetic susceptibility to one breed of worms (another reason for having a "mutt" network vice a "purebreed" network???)

    What good is all that profound " internet survivability " if all the pipes are laid down in the same trench, tunnel, manhole using the same vendor's gear???

    Any Network Infrastructure Engineers care to clue us in to why the pipes get placed in the same geographic location (+/- 1000 m)???

  • Ships are under the legistation of their home port, which is why they always have that painted on their bow, and have to fly the flag of the country.
  • Just to be pedantic...

    50 minutes is not half an hour. 15 hours amounts to 170 years' worth of downtime.

    --
  • The US Navy's main purpose is to stop piracy on the high seas. This keeps trade going. You may not know this, but the Navy is very good at tracking enemy subs.

    And those torpedos aren't for show either.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. Someone read the press release and understand the situation. If I had mod points I would use them on this post. I work for an ISP who has multiple OC12s and OC3s on this network, and we didn't lose connectivity to our site in Sydney, we just had reduced capacity. That, and I can't stand the smarmy ppl talking about how the network promised 100% redundancy. You have to do maintanence on a network sometime, and shit happens sometimes when you are doing it, and people are just gonna have to live with it. Thanks for adding perspective.

    //Phizzy
  • Wired magazine [wired.com] has in its archives a (long) article [wired.com] by Neil Stephenson on the laying of undersea fiber.
  • A good sysadmin always carries around a few feet of fiber. If he ever finds himself lost, and doesn't know the way out of whatever place he is, he simply drops the fiber on the ground and waits ten minutes, and then talks the backhoe operator for directions..

  • FREE MARKET???

    the free market is code for transnational megacorps who change tax domiciles like we change socks..

    The free market's done wonders for Californian Electrical consumers and Health and Pharmaceutical consumers.

    Fine if you want to sell off your nations nervous system.. not here mate. not here.
  • Why? Well, that has been discussed [slashdot.org].
  • Commercial airliners are physical devices, and they don't seem to have any problem approaching your mythical 99.999% reliability.
  • You posted a *general aviation* table, not a commercial table. General aviation is Cessnas and Piper Cubs flown mostly by hobbiests and part-time professionals, and often maintained by same. Their accident rate is high.
  • yeah, and when stopped by police, his explanation was "I was just cooling off my beer!".


  • by Alpha State (89105) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:46PM (#2184109) Homepage
    Although the link is effectively dead, the Telstra spokesman said the company would hold a decommissioning ceremony for all those staff involved in the cable's 25-year lifespan.

    In any other industry a 25-year old cable wouldn't be seen as anything special. Then again, I work for an electricity distributor, and routinely deal with cables laid 70 years ago, switches which could be sold as antiques and poles which are literally held up by the wires attached to them.

    It must make things easier when you can actually talk to someone who was alive when the assets you're working on were installed.

    The first undersea cable connection between Australia and New Zealand was commissioned on February 21, 1876.

    Is this a typo?

  • I don't think anyone can save this whale [smh.com.au]. I wonder if anyone will have a video camera handy ;-)
  • In any case, it didn't stop Internet connectivity for Australian users as some posters are suggesting; ISPs routed traffic onto other cable/satellite links, and while it was slower for users affected, it wasn't like Australia suddenly became broken off from the rest of the world.

    Actually, I just remembered that my connection seemed intermittent last night - I could connect to various sites inside the country, but no ping repsonse from google (my standard test - aarnet is not the most reliable of connections - I need to do this every few weeks)

    Just that I thought nothing more of it until now, because it happens so often. It seems the connection is less reliable than our damn physics server! ;) TimC.

  • by tconnors (91126) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @11:25PM (#2184112) Homepage Journal
    Gotta love how the Southerncross website information content is zip if you dont bother with flash.

    Is it because they want to increase their pipe usage by feeding lots of useless crap over it?

    TimC.
  • If anyone's noticed, TimepassTown [timepasstown.com] just got screwed too. All that's left of it is the Radio. At least that can keep me alive....
  • by jgdobak (119142) on Monday July 30, 2001 @06:42AM (#2184114)
    Dasmegabyte, about time someone said that.. I work in the telecom industry as a fiber optic splicer, and people have NO idea what a pain in the ass the stuff is to work on... An outdoor cable with that number of fibers (216 or so?) will take four hours just to get it ready to splice, before you ever set cleaver to glass. A good splicer, working in tandem with an assistant, and a good machine, might burn 24-36 in an hour, if he/she is experienced. A single guy working by himself with an older machine (far more common in the telecom industry) will burn 12 fibers in an hour, once you average things out. This stuff doesn't just coalesce out of thin air; it takes hard work to get it going.
    --
    Were I in touch with the toilet that is humanity, I'd have flushed it long ago.
  • by R.Caley (126968) on Monday July 30, 2001 @01:35AM (#2184115)
    They should anounce that they have installed the ultimate firewall which is guaranteed impervious to cracking. Then just wait for some indignant black hat to find a way through it.
    _O_
  • Any Network Infrastructure Engineers care to clue us in to why the pipes get placed in the same geographic location (+/- 1000 m)???

    IANANIE, but the short answer (no pun intended) is cost. The shorter you can make the cable run, the less it costs to lay the cable. When you take into consideration the distances involved for a transpacific or transatlantic cable run, there are only one or two routes that are economically feasible. In the situation where you already have a cable for a particular route, it may be sensible to lift the existing cable, strap the new one to it and performany necessary maintenance to the repeaters etc. on the old cable.

  • by ozbird (127571) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @11:25PM (#2184117)
    And also here. [iscpc.org] Specifically, it was a "[t]elegraph cable from La Perouse, Sydney, Australia to Wakapauka, New Zealand (landing site moved to Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia in 1917) ... In-Service: 1876, Out-of-Service: 1932, Years of Service: 56 yrs"

    If you think your Internet bandwidth and latency sucks, spare a thought for those using telegraph wires. The first transatlantic telegraph was sent from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1858: the message was 98 words long, and it took over 16 hours to send!
  • Is there body that governs international waters that acts analagously to the FTC? Or are you allowed to go traipsing wherever you want, without liability for damaging things like fibre cables?


    If you're not wasted, the day is.
  • by wolvie_ (135527) on Monday July 30, 2001 @12:40AM (#2184119)
    The Southern Cross Cable that was broken actually still isn't online - the original outage [aarnet.net.au] had no expected time of recovery, given the break occurred 34km off the coast of Sydney, where conditions over the weekend were up to 19m swells (oh, and normal recovery time is 20 days according to the SCC site).

    The Southern Cross Cable is completely redundant, so they are justified in making their claims about uptime, but by some strange twist of fate, the second cable running out of Sydney was down for maintainance at the time of the break. The broken cable is still down [aarnet.net.au], and they simply brought the second cable back up to fix everything. In any case, it didn't stop Internet connectivity for Australian users as some posters are suggesting; ISPs routed traffic onto other cable/satellite links, and while it was slower for users affected, it wasn't like Australia suddenly became broken off from the rest of the world.

    If you're interested about how they lay and fix these types of cable out at sea, you should read this great article from Wired in 19996 [wired.com] by Neal Stephenson. It takes a while to read, but it covers everything from the development of the technology, to installing and maintaining it, how it's all linked up, and the economics behind it.

  • Check with your ISP. The route that is taken depends on who your ISP's upstream provider is.

    I'm with Optus Cable who do use the Souther Cross Cable (when it works).


    ----------------
  • by sstrick (137546) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:29PM (#2184121)
    When the cable is in shallow water (several hundred metres) a plow is dragged infront of the cable as it is being layed.

    It then lies in a shallow trench which later fills up with sand to offer some protection. Not enough to stop a ships anchor by the looks. Once the water gets deeper though it has to be layed straight on the bottom.
  • by BiggestPOS (139071) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:01PM (#2184122) Homepage
    When my powersupply went out last week. I gathered all my coworkers around, said a eulogy, the whole nine yards. I then slowly lowered its box into an RMA box to send it back to the vender. I even got the UPS man to play along as a pall-bearer. I took a bunch of pictures on my nikon, I'll have a site up soon

  • (Tommy; are you out there? ;-)

    A buddy of mine (who works with lasers for his research) about 15 years ago had LOS between his house on the west side of Cayuga Lake and his lab at Cornell on the east side (roughly 8 miles away). This was the days when a 9600 baud modem was the best thing going. Solution? You guessed it! IIRC, he got about 19.2 kbps out of that link (except during snowstorms ;-)

    True story...

    (We don't need no triple redundancy...)
  • That was informative? What you remember some IS guy telling you a while back? That ain't how it's done. The cable hits and lays on the bottom. In sections like the US-UK route, there is a ridge across the ocean and it's high enough that a trench can be pulled to offer more protection. Jeez! You only have to think about the weight of 3,000 km of cable that weighs about 4kg/m to figure out it ain't gonna work just hanging there, not even in water. And we're not even mentioning currents here.

    Try http://innovations.copper.org/1998april/cable_evol ution.htm [copper.org]. Or search Google for "underwater cable".

    In the James Burke series, "The Day The Universe Changed", one episode includes a part on how the ship which was first used to lay trans-Atlantic cable ended up doing that (hint: it wasn't built for that). Of course, you could also go here: http://www.oldcablehouse.com/cablestations/history .html [oldcablehouse.com]. BTW, you can read James Burke "Connections" pieces at Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com [sciam.com] or in the magazine each month.

    woof.

    Quit all the whining about moderation! Don't like how it works? Tough. I don't like your variable declarations, but I'm not pissing about them, am I? Oh wait, I just did.

  • Nah, they probably do it to piss off people who still read the internet on stone tablets...

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • That would be a really awful stereotypical statement if it didn't ring so true.

    "Shark Fins, [sharkfinsoup.com.au] you say? No kidding! Here I've been eating the whole shark for years and didn't notice anything. Hell, from now on I'll just cut off the fins and throw the rest away!"

    "Rino Horn? Yup, keep a jar of that stuff right on my night table!"

    ---
    Hi! How are you?
    I send you this .sig in order to have your advice

  • That brought me to my knees! The imagry! Teehee!
  • Well, the first underwater telegraph cable that was laid was caught within a month by a fisherman who thought exactly that - that it was some heretofore undiscovered sea creature. More recently, while laying a cable off the coast of Taiwan, the Chinese went out and helped themselves to a repeater section. Neal Stephenson wrote a kick-ass article [wired.com] for Wired a few years ago about the laying of the FLAG cable from Japan to England. Give yourself a few hours and read.
  • Thanks for mentioning where to find James Burke's "Connection" pieces. I love that guy.

    I'm going to go subscribe now.

    Regards,
    Stephen
  • I Tracert'ed my connection to slashdot and i go out via the pacific. But im using optus@home so that could be the reason (as a previous poster said, the line is owned by optus)
    --------------

    "Passion Rules Reason." Blood of the Fold

  • First off, the downtime calc was from the article itself. Second, the reason why you got 5 minutes downtime is because you only did one year. I fyou multiply that by 10 years, you will in fact have 50 minutes. As for the 300 number, yes, it is wrong.
  • this was one of the best Wired articles. Too bad they haven't done stuff like this since (Bill Joy's "influential" article notwithsanding).
  • SXC sells bandwidth on its cable link, your ISP must have purchased bandwidth for you to be using it - if not, nothing has changed.

    IIRC, Optus@Home is the largest subscriber. I'm not sure if Bigpond uses this link at all.

  • We had a network outage for many ISPs here.
  • You may ask, "why dont we use sattelite" - answer: too slow, think about all that extra distance to the stars, and then back.

    Let's get ourselves a new kernel update!
    root@whatever:/home/dave# ping www.linux.org PING www.linux.org (198.182.196.56): 56 data bytes

    64 bytes from 198.182.196.56: icmp_seq=0 ttl=239 time=4.2yrs
    64 bytes from 198.182.196.56: icmp_seq=1 ttl=239 time=4.2yrs
    64 bytes from 198.182.196.56: icmp_seq=2 ttl=239 time=4.2yrs
  • by Anaxagor (211917) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:42PM (#2184136)
    Australian Police are asking for public help in locating a man seen clinging to a New Zealand-registered rowboat, with a large propane cylinder hanging off the stern, trailing smoke and flames as it crossed the area at ridiculously high speed shortly before the cable was cut.
  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:11PM (#2184137)
    For us Americans...
    A Telstra spokesman said today the link, laid "donkey's years ago", carried very little of the telco's network traffic before yesterday's cut.
    This confused me, until I found the idiom [m-w.com].

    (It wasn't here [dictionary.com] or here [everything2.com].)

    --
  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:28PM (#2184138)
    let me rephrase these two paragraphs, for those of us who might be confused by them:

    A Telstra spokesman confirmed today that a container ship at the focus of investigations behind the Southern Cross Cable cut yesterday also appeared to have caught the 25-year-old Tasman 1 cable linking Sydney with Auckland in New Zealand.

    The 2Mbps link, which until Sunday was still used as a backup route across the Tasman Sea, has been decomissioned as repair costs outweigh the benefits of maintaining the link.

    As previously reported, the "Southern Cross Cable" was cut yesterday, unintentionally.
    However, another cable, a 25-year-old one linking Sydney, Australia with Auckland, New Zealand was also cut. It was a "Tasman 1" type cable.
    The ship that is at the focus of authorities' investigations for the first cutting is apparently responsible for this second cutting also.
    This is according to a Telstra spokesperson.
    This second cut link was a 2Mbps link. It was still in use until it was accidentally cut, but only as a backup route. It goes across the Tasman Sea.
    Since being cut, it was decided that the line would be not be repaired, since the benefits of maintaining the link aren't worth the high repair costs.
    It is now being "posthumously" decomissioned with a celebration party.

    Phew!

    --
  • My cable modem dies every friday night 'cause the fscking operator can't deal with all the traffic, and I don't make a farewell ceremony to it...

    Sarcastic ? Me ?

    --
  • Please look at this previous slashdot story:
    NSA Tapping Underwater Fiber Optics [slashdot.org]

    -or- http://slashdot.org/articles/01/05/23/2142216.shtm l
  • AFAIK, there is a number of different cables between Europe and the States. (more than 10, just to give an estimate. A byproduct of having a lot of national telecoms) This means that there is enough redundancy to survive loss of one or two cables. ciao, .mau.
  • Funny though, me and my friends were fishing on his boat, and we lost the bait trap...so, my friend asked me to lift the anchor up so we could chase the bait trap..well, they asked me to pull it up..being the weakling I am, I couldn't do it..
    I yelled over, and my two other friends couldn't get it up (sounds like a personal problem)..in any event, about 20 minutes later we got the thing up, along with a huuuuuuuge cable (i'd say like -40 gauge)...don't know what it was for, but...we were in pretty shallow water....

    .kb
  • If live near Baltimore (or happen to drive I-95 through the city), North of the tunnel is a dock where two cable laying ships are docked. They used to belong to AT&T - not sure if they still do. Since you're up on a tall overpass you can get a good view of it - the spools they mount on these boats are MONSTERs (no surprise) Pretty cool sight - they look halfway normal till you see the huge hole in teh back with rollers on all sides!

    Of course, look while driving at your own risk - better yet, pull over on the shoulder before looking so you don't kill somebody :)

  • If you plan your architechture properly, five 9's is not impossible. Redundant equipment, with redundant interconnects, in different physical locations, can achieve (with some work) this kind of reliability. For some telecommunications (911 service, for instance) five 9's is the minimum acceptable level.
  • For us Americans... A Telstra spokesman said today the link, laid "donkey's years ago", carried very little of the telco's network traffic before yesterday's cut. This confused me, until I found the idiom.

    But it is here [polyu.edu.hk]. With Chinese translation too.

    I thought everybody understood this!

    R.

  • by Legume (257598) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @11:07PM (#2184146)

    The first undersea cable connection between Australia and New Zealand was commissioned on February 21, 1876.


    Is this a typo?


    I don't think so - I believe it was a telegraph cable bound with tarred cloth. There is a brief mention of it here [stats.govt.nz].

  • by hyrdra (260687) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:20AM (#2184147) Homepage Journal
    I live in a lakeside community which has a large lake for paddle boating, duck feeding, etc. (no swimming). My friend moved here a few years ago, directly across the lake from my house. We used to do morse code messages to each other and soon we we're talking about wiring up a network together. One night we took a paddle boat out and layed an insulated CAT-5 directly across the lake, instead of going all the way around (would have used much more cable because it's kind of elliptical in shape).

    The connection works great and now we have connected up three other neighboors as well. The most difficult part was getting the cable into the homes by drilling through wood and cement, but it wasn't that big of a deal. It's kind of cool -- and you don't even have to be a giant telecommunications company. Don't know if it's against our association rules, but I still enjoy my nightly Quake-over-lake game!
  • And let's not forget that these guys are working with cable AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN. Get you, your assistant and your good machine under 300 feet of brine and dark and see how quick you go :)
  • Well, you're mistaking complexity with redundancy...they aren't the same. A redudant system with four nodes can easily have an interconnect one jump from each node, so that no one missing node would stop traffic. A complex system of, say, 400 nodes, would not have the same luxury...that would mean a whole shitload of interconnects. So you can feign redundancy, with big pipes connecting each smaller network with the smaller nets fairly redundant -- but they're not truly redundant. And that means if you're a node at the back of a big pipe, you may not have much recourse to stay connected -- either the traffic is too great to reach the next big pipe before your TTL expires, or you just don't have an auxilliary branch because your link to the other networks WAS the big pipe. So bang: there goes your redundancy, because your network lost its redundancy.

    This is why 99.999% is a crock of shit -- no network is that close to perfect -- because even if the system stays up when its connections go down, it's still failed. If 911 crashes, it can come back up quickly...but if the phones to the whole town are gone, then the system is basically ineffective.
  • Well, isn't that nice...a geek with a fantasy complex.

    I hate to break it to ya, bub, but all claims of "99.999%" reliability with physical devices are outlandish lies. I can't even claim 98% reliability with my own alarm clock; how am I supposed to do so with a bank of servers attached to the same line on the same power supply running the same OS with the same specialized code? 99.999% is a marketing lie -- the internet will never have complete reliability, because it is far too complex and has too many variables.

    Your line that customers should sue for gaps in reliability is just selfish and silly. There was no way the company could have sped up the process, or they would have done so...I'm sure this was a terrible embarrasment. So if a group of customers were to file suit, this would be nothing more than a nuisance. Southern Cross didn't purposefully bring them down and they handled it as quickly as possible. A break in about 200 pieces of glass, each thiner than your hair and wrapper with insulant, jelly, 1/2 steel pipe and a copper conductor is not as easy as splicing two wires under a car hood -- a process which takes me about five minutes per wire.

    The internet is a self switching entity tied to a scant few superfast backbones, and can never be 100% reliable. The trend towards claims that approach 100% is dangerous, because it causes investors and customers to see real claims (such as 98% reliability, or 100% during business hours, 96% after 7 pm) as underrated. And when you're looking for a host for your data, what's most important is the real uptime. Trying to find meaning in "99.999&" is like looking for the leprechaun in a box of Lucky Charms.
  • >the internet will never have complete
    >reliability, because it is far too complex and
    >has too many variables.

    Actually, if the system was any less complex, it would have failed. Having "a scant few superfast backbones," etc. make for a simple, but efficient system. A truly complex system would have many types of servers and software communicating over a large number of slower connections. To the extent that it was truly complex, it would be less efficient and more reliable.

    The heterogeneity of the linkages (other cables, satellite, etc) is what saved Australia from interruption. A single, really big high-speed cable could be made really dark by a single really big ship.
  • From the same exact page that features the much-repeated "99.999%, 50 minutes of network down-time every 10 years" phrase is this quote and a Flash animation showing what happens when you cross two (gasp!) of the main trans-Pacific fibers. "Southern Cross features self-healing triple Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) ring architecture. The Southern Cross network comprises two separate cables to provide maximum security. The size of the Pacific Ocean is such that if a cable breaks it is typically out of service for 12 days." It seems they expect this stuff, and that traffic is automatically rerouted through the remaining fiber(s). Did some ship come across thousands of miles of Pacific water, efficiently cutting all Southern Cross underwater sea fibers? Or was there in fact *no* downtime and the Slashdot posting is (gasp again!) inaccurate? Can someone clarify the circumstances of the outage--specifically whether more than one Southern Cross cable was in fact cut? //alex.diaz
  • I'm guessing that they are referring to the Southern Cross cut which was done at the same time, and which has a lot more capacity. [GB/s]
  • Yes, but neither NZT or Worldcom are AUSTRALIAN companies. The post I followed up on was an Australian poster commenting on the route which his traffic chooses, if the Australian ISP wants to use the SC cable, they will be buying the bandwidth from Optus, as opposed to Telstra Wholesale.
  • The smallest amount of bandwidth you can buy direct from SC is 45Mb/s. Not too many Mom and Pop ISP's will buy that much at once. That leaves you with:

    OzEmail & UUNet
    Optus@Home & Optus C/W
    Telstra Bigpond & Telstra

    All of the 'big' ISPs have their own cable, otherwise they buy bandwidth from Telstra or Optus. [which is why so much money is made from wholesale]
  • It depends on your ISP, the southern cross link is owned by Optus, the rest are owned by Telstra [with a few exceptions].
  • Why don't we just move to the beach where this thing comes out of the ocean and use all of that "unused" bandwidth for them? Talk about a site that would NEVER get slasdotted...
  • by beanerspace (443710) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:13PM (#2184158) Homepage
    One approach to cleaning up dead cable might be to eyes and scales on it, and then spread a rumor amongst Asian fishermen about a large, succulent eel that resides between Austraila & New Zeland ... which when boiled is a potent aphrodisiac.

    If nothing else, it might keep them busy enough to save a whale or two.

  • That's real nice, mod this down as 'overrated' and then start a whole discussion about it. Oh well.

    Anyway, to address the discussion below, the way I understand it is that the cable is prepared for double the capacity it is running at now. Fine, there's a WHOLE bunch of unused fiber in there. Good engineering thinking. On such a cable they should probably put at least 4 times the fiber in there so you can always repair or redo something on one idle bundle while the other idle bundle is hot standby to cover anything going wrong in the main bundle while you're working on the one backup bundle.

    Redundancy and reliability is NOT rocket science. It's just expensive. I recently interviewed at a company that routes 150 thousand phonecalls per day. Walked through their server room, and they were proud (can't blame 'em) to say that EVERYTHING is set up in a triple configuration. They have T1's coming out of their ears. Their uptime last year? 100%. NO outages at all. But ofcourse the 'internet' is so much more complex and oh, yeah if you have 'one guy' repairing a multimillion dollar cable it COULD take 15 hours. Bah. When have you ever seen 'one guy' try to fix a dike by putting his finger in it trying to stop the water (well that's what most Americans know about the country I'm from:) ? That's a TEAM that does that, not 'one guy'.

    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • The internet has decided to move to Australia due to an unfriendly DMCA climate in the USA. Nothing to get here anymore
    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • If they're supposed to have a lifespan of 25 years, then why is this newsworthy?

    Maybe because this is the first cable to last as long as it was spec'ed to? How many other cables laid in 1976 are still operating?
    --------
    I see no THERMONUCLEAR WARHEAD here.

    You are at Y2.

  • it had buoys in it to keep it from snapping. They were only so weighted, so that they would float far below the surface.

    you're dumb -- plastic sorta floats anyway, and there WILL be air in there

  • actually, if you re-read the post you will see that we were in fact connecting to Africa. During a great depression that they were having our company was urged to pull out, but we stayed, and many believe we kept many people there from being homeless. Sometimes its nice to be a big-corporate-meat head. Either way, at least I didn't go to san diego state
  • I work for a large company who has a lot of production in South Africa. Back when days were I remember this fella from IS talking about how they just got on a boat with this huge spool and just let it sail down to the floor. The thing is though, in most place the floor is so deep there is no possible way for it to hit bottom. They just let it roll down as far as they feel like it (im sure its not THAT simple), and hope nothing cracks it open. When you think about it, we're not a _REAL_ bright people.

    You may ask, "why dont we use sattelite" - answer: too slow, think about all that extra distance to the stars, and then back.

  • While, I can't be positive, my guess would be that when the Internet became commericalized, survivability for commerical applications was not important. Instead, its more important to make a profit. To make a profit, you do things as cheaply as possible, and you cut some corners.

    Furthermore, the internet _did_ survive. One cable was cut, and a small portion fell of the map. The rest of us could operate fine outside of the affected area.

    Its mostly a matter of cost and importance of the system. Buying books from Australia just isn't "mission critical" so it doesn't need to survive a nuclear blast. However, I'm willing to bet that any mission critical military systems that are on the internet do have proper redundancy in place. They don't care about profit.
    ---
  • It seems to me that that huge link across the pacific isn't being used. I have tracerouted my connection to USA websites heaps of times, and everytime it goes via perth then out to england and across from there. Are any ISPs using the pacific link? Wasn't it supposed to be 40 Gbps or something?

  • Do they just lay the cable along the seabed floor?
  • Ok, here is the real secret. Qwest didn't start out as a communications company. Rather they kinda squeezed their way into it. Origionally they contracted out cable running jobs to telecoms like AT&T. AT&T would pay them to run 30 strands of fiber from say baltimore to DC. Well the expensive part is digging the hole. Now pay attention cause here is the trick. Since the ground was already open Qwest said, "Lets throw some extra fiber in there for us." The result is that instead of the 30 strands the AT&T paid for there were now like 200 strands. This leaves some rediculous amount of fiber belonging to qwest less than 10cm from everyone elses.

    Now for the really sad part. Most of this fiber isn't even lit. Thats right 1000's of strands of fiber all over the US are dark right now. Why? My guess is because Qwest doesn't want to upset supply and demand.
  • If they're supposed to have a lifespan of 25 years, then why is this newsworthy?
  • Correct me if I am wrong, but if you and your diesel sub are in international waters, not damaging anything related to America (for example, a fibre link between russia and iceland) then wouldn't the US navy be out of it's jurisdiction to stop you? International waters means that the US navy ain't the cops! If the Russian or Icelandic government were to request that the US sub that had it nose up your propeller torpedo you, then it probably would, but until then, wouldn't it be kinda illegal to? If I am wrong, and the US Navy is in it's jurisdiction to shoot you, there seems to be a lot of piracy going on that the US Navy ain't stopping! http://www.iccwbo.org/ccs/imb_piracy/weekly_piracy _report.asp

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

Working...