$1.5 billion: The cost of cutting London-Tokyo latency by 60ms

Anurag Bhatia me at anuragbhatia.com
Fri Mar 23 06:58:58 CDT 2012

Yeah this is super cool!

I hope ISPs will peer well once cable is ready!

(Sent from my mobile device)

Anurag Bhatia
On Mar 23, 2012 5:24 PM, "Eugen Leitl" <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/122989-1-5-billion-the-cost-of-cutting-london-toyko-latency-by-60ms
> $1.5 billion: The cost of cutting London-Tokyo latency by 60ms
>    By Sebastian Anthony on March 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm
> Arctic Link submarine cable
> Starting this summer, a convoy of ice breakers and specially-adapted polar
> ice-rated cable laying ships will begin to lay the first ever trans-Arctic
> Ocean submarine fiber optic cables. Two of these cables, called Artic Fibre
> and Arctic Link, will cross the Northwest Passage which runs through the
> Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A third cable, the Russian Optical
> Trans-Arctic
> Submarine Cable System (ROTACS), will skirt the north coast of Scandinavia
> and Russia. All three cables will connect the United Kingdom to Japan,
> with a
> smattering of branches that will provide high-speed internet access to a
> handful of Arctic Circle communities. The completed cables are estimated to
> cost between $600 million and $1.5 billion each.
> All three cables are being laid for the same reasons: Redundancy and speed.
> As it stands, it takes roughly 230 milliseconds for a packet to go from
> London to Tokyo; the new cables will reduce this by 30% to 170ms. This
> speed-up will be gained by virtue of a much shorter run: Currently, packets
> from the UK to Japan either have to traverse Europe, the Middle East, and
> the
> Indian Ocean, or the Atlantic, US, and Pacific, both routes racking up
> around
> 15,000 miles in the process. It’s only 10,000 miles (16,000km) across the
> Arctic Ocean, and you don’t have to mess around with any land crossings,
> either.
> Russian Optical Trans-Arctic Submarine Cable System (ROTACS) between UK and
> JapanThe massive drop in latency is expected to supercharge algorithmic
> stock
> market trading, where a difference of a few milliseconds can gain (or lose)
> millions of dollars. It is for this reason that a new cable is currently
> being laid between the UK and US — it will cost $300 million and shave
> “just”
> six milliseconds off the fastest link currently available. The lower
> latency
> will also be a boon to other technologies that hinge heavily on the
> internet,
> such as telemedicine (and teleconferencing) and education. Telephone calls
> and live news coverage would also enjoy the significantly lower latency.
> Each
> of the fiber optic cables will have a capacity in the terabits-per-second
> range, which will probably come in handy too.
> Beyond the stock markets, though, the main advantage of the three new
> cables
> is added redundancy. Currently, almost every cable that lands in Asia goes
> through a choke point in the Middle East or the Luzon Strait between the
> Philippine and South China seas. If a ship were to drag an anchor across
> the
> wrong patch of seabed, billions of people could wake up to find themselves
> either completely disconnected from the internet or surfing with
> dial-up-like
> speeds. The three new cables will all come down from the north of Japan,
> through the relatively-empty Bering Sea — and the Arctic Ocean, where each
> of
> the cables will run for more than 5,000 miles, is one of the
> least-trafficked
> parts of the world. That said, the cables will still have to be laid
> hundreds
> of meters below the surface to avoid the tails of roving icebergs.
> The ROTACS cable path
> Each cable will be laid by a pair of ships: an ice breaker that leads the
> way, and a cable ship. Until now it has been impossible to lay cables in
> the
> Arctic Ocean, but the retreat of the Arctic sea ice means that the
> Northwest
> Passage is now generally ice-free from August to October; a big enough
> window
> that cable can be laid fairly safely. Existing cable ships (and there
> aren’t
> many of them) are all outfitted for balmier climes, so all three cables
> will
> require the use of a polar ice-rated ship that has been retrofitted to
> carry
> cable-laying gear.
> Read more about the secret world of submarine cables.
> For more information on the Russian Optical Trans-Arctic Submarine Cable
> System (ROTACS), check out the Polarnet Project (machine translated).
> The Arctic Fibre and Arctic Link websites have information on the North
> American cables.
> [Image credit: New Scientist]

More information about the NANOG mailing list