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When talking about technologies, speed and capacity in the transfer of data plays a fundamental role. That is why two of the most important technology companies in the world, such as Microsoft and Facebook, along with Telxius, a telephone infrastructure subsidiary, have inaugurated the most advanced transatlantic cable so far. The result of this ambitious project has been named Marea (Spanish for “Tide”) and its main aim is to satisfy the growing demand for Internet services and cloud computing in recent years. Marea is the most advanced subsea cable that crosses the Atlantic Ocean. The cable connects the United States (Virginia Beach) with Spain (Bilbao).

Unity makes strength

The three large companies involved in the project decided to install the cable further south than the rest of submarine cables that are currently in the Atlantic Ocean. The large gap between Marea and the rest of the transatlantic submarine cables provides greater reliability and fault tolerance in the connections between the United States and Europe. All this with the aim of preventing losses of connection between the United States and Europe, as occurred in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that left the coast of Virginia without any Internet connection.

The features of Marea

The length of this colossal cable is 6,600 kilometers, it is at an average depth of 5,000 meters and it weighs around 4.65 million kilograms. The cable is capable of transmitting up to 160 terabits of data per second. This speed is 16 million times faster than the usual average home internet connection (10 megabits per second). It is capable of streaming 71 million videos in high definition at the same time. The cable consists of 8 pairs of optical fiber, each with a speed of 20 terabits per second.

In addition to the optical fiber, which transmits the information, the cable is made up of other protective materials. It has a coating of polycarbonate, braided steel and waterproof, anti-corrosive aluminum, to prevent deterioration. The polycarbonate and copper compounds closest to the optical fiber are to avoid interference.

Nowadays, the vast majority of companies depend on their infrastructures hosted in the cloud, whether privately, publicly or in a hybrid form. The incorporation of Marea to the submarine cable network will improve the connection between the large data centers of the United States and Europe, as well as Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Impact on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure

Marea will significantly improve the Microsoft Azure platform by incorporating a new connection between its data centers located in the United States and Europe, which will increase its data transmission capacity and reliability. In this case, the cable will be directly connected to the data center located in Virginia. We are undoubtedly facing one of those projects that will improve the services we provide to our customers in the Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

The direct connection of this cable to the data center of Virginia, will provide us some data transfer speeds to take into account. Nowadays, the data centers that offer the best latencies for our clients in Spain are those located in Europe and the United Kingdom due to their proximity. However, we will have to assess which latencies the US data centers offer us (especially the one in Virginia) with this new connection, in order to provide our clients with the services that best suit their needs.