Google announced two private submarine intercontinental cables in 2018. After years of leasing or consortium, it is the first large non-telecommunications company to set up its own business. The second, called Dunant, will be record capacity by the first cable to leverage SDM technology (Space Division Multiplexing).

Update 02/03/21: After deployment and testing is the Dunant cable system now “Ready for the service.” According to Google, its partner SubCom “stay on schedule despite the ongoing global pandemic”.

Original 4/5/19: Dunant extends from Virginia Beach in the USA to a landing station on the French west coast. It is particularly close to the Northern Virginia and Belgium GCP regions. Google Cloud hired it to add capacity and complement one of the busiest routes on the internet.

When financing their own cable, Google has full control over the routing and guaranteed bandwidth, rather than buying capacity for an existing cable or building with a consortium. Thanks to space division multiplexing (SDM), this transatlantic cable transmits 250 terabits of data per second. This record capacity corresponds to the transmission of the entire digitized Library of Congress three times a week.

Instead of six or eight fiber pairs, SDM enables cost-effective 12 through performance-optimized repeater designs that share resources. As previously announced, Google is working with SubCom to develop, manufacture and install the Dunant cable.

Traditional subsea cables are powered from the shore and rely on a special set of pump lasers to amplify the optical signal for each fiber pair as data travels the length of the cable. SDM technology enables pump lasers and associated optical components to be shared by multiple fiber pairs while meeting the unique performance constraints of the ocean floor.

The 6,400 km long cable will go into operation in the third quarter of 2020 and is named after the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant. In the meantime, Curie – named after the physicist and chemist – will go live later this year. In this case, Google decided to build its own cable between the US and Chile because there is no infrastructure.

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