Guide about technologies used in submarine cables

Do you know what is a submarine cable? Most of us are unfamiliar to such cables. No worries. We are here to tell you every detail about submarine cables. Such cables or wires that are laid on the surface of any water-body (ocean, sea, and so on) are termed as submarine cables.

This network system is an integrated system of cables. The function of these cables is to form network among different lands. This connection is used to transfer data among them. Following are the components of the system:

  • Cables/wires
  • Hardware
  • Infrastructure

These components work in combination to create a large-scale communication. You might be thinking that satellites are used for this purpose. This is a major misunderstanding. Almost 95% of the data-transfer occurs through submarine cables. 

Why do we need tools and technologies for submarine cables?

We need to know about this technology for following purposes:

  • Building
  • Activating
  • Maintaining (accessibility, long-distance communication, and contrast exposure)

Here we have described technologies that are used at different stages.


There are some main stages of construction that you should know. These are as follow:

End face inspection: This step is the first and the most crucial step. Why? Because this process is used to detect following things that can cause problems:

  • Dirt particles
  • Physical defects
  • OTDR

Physical defects means those damages that will affect the performance of the cables. Such problems must be solved at first priority because these will have a negative impact otherwise. 

Besides, OTDR are the most important tool and technology. This technology is used for the physical layer fiber verification. There are many types of OTDR technologies that can  

be used for submarine cables. The choice of specific OTDR technology depends upon the usage and an environment where the cables are being used. The two important types of OTDR are:

  • Dry plant OTDR (these are versatile bi-directional)
  • Wet plant OTDR (these are used for long haul)

Brillouin OTDR: The amount of strain that is being implied on the submarine cables is very important for the proper construction of the cables. The maximum amount of strain that can be put on these cables is 0.34%. more than this will lower the lifespan of such wires. To measure the strain Brillouin OTDR is considered a very useful technology. 

Optical Dispersion Technology: This technology is an important way to measure the amount of dispersion. It is used to characterized the ways of compensation for dispersion.


For the accurate activation of submarine cables different technologies are used. These technologies are important for following purposes:

Optical power measurement: For this purpose optical power meter is used. This technology is based on this meter. Moreover, it is a ruggedized meter and is the most important technology for the activation of submarine cables. 

Spectrum analysis: For this purpose a high quality technology of optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) is used. It measures the optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR)

Data network equipment testing: Network testers are used to check following things for better networking:

  • Latency
  • Jitter
  • Throughput
  • Frame loss/bit error rate analysis

Maintenance and monitoring

The key to keeping the performance of submarine cable networks, maintenance and monitoring is a must step. 

ONMSi: This technology is used to check the effectiveness and physical health of the 

system. It can detect the following issues

  • Real-time error and fault
  • Security problems
  • Degradation

Fiber monitoring: it is an important technology that is used for the wide array of fibers. It also checks the fiber degradation. This technology is vital to check the fault of submarine cable. This fault can be due to change in the given parameters:

  • Strain
  • Temperature

Besides, fiber optic sensing is also a critical technology. 

Service performance monitoring: This important technology is essential for identifying and checking the pro-active data problems. Furthermore, it is used essential for proving the SLA compliance for clients.

Technology used in architecture

Each element is necessary for the submarine network architecture. Various cables like cat6 plenum and others are joined in a specific manner to create an intricate network. Ever component plays a particular role in maintaining the stability of the attitude. Too many technologies are used and maintained at every level to establish a stable system in an unpredictable water body like ocean. 

Validation of various technologies

Submarine cable network is highly complicated. That is why it is very important to test and validate each technology after a specific time period. Failure of only one technology leads to the drastic results by halting the entire network.

For example, the wet plant system is best examined by OTRD testing. Besides, inline amplifiers are used to measure the repeated systems. While, to measure the non-repeated system long OTDR is very useful. 

Chromatin dispersion (CD) and polarized mode dispersion (PMD) are used to certify the wet plant. However, dry plant is tested by optical spectrum analysis (OSA).

These are the basic and the most important technologies that are used in submarine networking. Besides, there are some secondary technologies that are also used. 


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