The Arctic and Antarctic are the two areas not yet served by fiber optic subsea cables. Laying subsea cables in Artic waters brings a new set of challenges beyond those faced in the open ocean. OSI’s Steve Lentz, Director Network Architecture and New Technologies, writes on the mitigation strategies and technical solutions that exist for many of the challenges presented by an Arctic environment.
Optical fiber cable systems are designed to carry vast amounts of information across the world’s oceans with extremely high reliability. The capabilities of these systems have also been adapted to other purposes including scientific observation, military applications, and communications to remote locations and offshore oil & gas platforms. Yet, the Arctic and Antarctic are the two areas of the globe that are not yet served by fiber optic cables. The high cost and high risk of placing cables in these areas has thus far prompted users to retain radio based communications networks, usually consisting of a high-cost, narrow bandwidth satellite links.