The Greatest Network You’ve Never Seen
The invisible force powering the Internet.
On July 29, 1858, two steam-powered mega ships met in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where they connected two ends of a 2,500 mile long cable linking for the first time the European and North American continents by telegraph (a bit like an email but with less Grumpy Cat memes).
The first message, by Queen Victoria, took over 17 hours to deliver, at 2 minutes and 5 seconds per letter by Morse code. Even though the cable worked for less than a month due to a variety of technical failures, a global revolution had begun.
Today, there are around 400 underwater cables, spanning a length of over 745,000 miles. The longest cable hits 39 landing points from Germany to Korea, spanning 24,000 miles. They are less than 3 inches thick and house several optical fibres.
Check out TeleGeography. View the interactive here.
These cables have become the invisible force powering the Internet, with many in recent years being funded by the big dogs such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google. They carry 99% of our global communications and yet in a world of wireless and mobile phones, people are barely aware that they exist. The Internet has become some kind of mythical ‘Cloud’ in the ethos where it’s only noticed if it goes down or, please excuse me, “broken”. Please stop saying you broke the Internet.
Whenever anyone connects to the Internet, usually via an ISP (internet service provider) or mobile provider, they become part of the overall network. Separate networks across the globe communicate with each other using a common language, known as TCP/IP, to route data from one point to another. Because of this, we can detect faults, control the flow and redirect within the blink of an eye.
This has given rise to a more economical way for companies to connect their offices around the world using a technology called SD-WAN. Simply put, it is a way to allow branch sites access to both headquarters and cloud applications directly through a public Internet link using a single appliance.
In the past the only option would mostly like have been facilitated by a global service provider like BT, AT&T or Verizon with 1 to 5 year contracted annual costs. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this is still absolutely needed for a variety of reasons, but when every penny counts, you need local ISP flexibility (Fibre, DSL, Cable, 5G), plug and play style installation, simple monitoring and easy dashboards, the Internet and SD-WAN is at your disposal.