SeaMeWe 4: the Euro-Asian global network artery

The cable, which has been working since 2005, joins Singapore to France going through the South-East of Asia, Middle East and Europe. Till today it represents a strategic link in the world telecommunications industry.

The submarine “network”

Over 95% of the world’s Internet traffic goes on under kilometres of water. The submarine cable network connecting the four corners of the earth, being the stalwart of the world telecommunications system, is currently made up of more than 260 cables. It promises to grow more in the next few years with a lot of projects that are already in the works. We can cite as an example the three Microsoft initiatives: the New Cross Pacific, i.e. the network that will join the US west coast to Asia and two new links which will go through the Atlantic Ocean, leaving from Canada and arriving respectively at Ireland and the United Kingdom.

From France to Singapore

Inside the network going through the two continents, a key role is played by the cable SeaMeWe-4, whose acronym reveals its route: South-Est Asia – Middle East – West Europe. It is made up of about 18,800 kilometres of optical fibres, which leave from Singapore and arrive at France, through 14 other countries: Malaysia, Thailand, BangladeshIndiaSri LankaPakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia and Algeria. The cable uses DWDM technology, which allows increasing the communication power through fibre and has a data transmission range of 1.28 Tbit per second.

The SeaMeWe-4 is the fourth cable of the series having the same name which, by the end of 2016, will include another link, i.e. the SeaMeWe-5. It will join 18 hubs in total, from Malaysia to France, for a total length of about 20,000 kilometres. The  SeaMeWe-4, being built as a complement to the cable SeaMeWe-3 (one is the “back-up” of the other) and made possible thanks to the investments of a 16 company consortium,  started to work officially on 13th December 2005. Works lasted about 20 months, divided into two phases: the first phase lasted 101 days and resulted in the laying of the first 3,500 kilometres of cables; the second one, however, was delayed because of the devastating tsunami which hit the Bay of Bengal just in 2004.

This link has indeed brought about considerable advantages and represents one of the main means, by which to increase the availability of fast connection in some developing countries.