How is the Internet shared between continents? Answer: Via submarine communications transatlantic cable, a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean. The cable is used for various sorts of telecom traffic, including the Internet. Satellites orbiting the planet also help to supplement communications, relaying signals over long distances or as backup in the event of communications failure. Cable is preferred over satellite due to the much lower latency and higher bandwidth it achieves.
The first submarine communications cables carried telegraphy traffic.
The first communications occurred August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days – the time it took to deliver a message by ship – to a matter of minutes. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables. The cable consisted of seven copper wires, each weighing 26 kg/km (107 pounds per nautical mile), covered with three coats of gutta-percha, weighing 64 kg/km (261 pounds per nautical mile), and wound with tarred hemp, over which a sheath of 18 strands, each of seven iron wires, was laid in a close spiral. It weighed nearly 550 kg/km.
You can actually find some pieces of the transatlantic cable and other historical keepsakes for purchase here:Transatlantic Cable
Subsequent generations of cables carried first telephony traffic, then data communications traffic.
Modern cables use optical fiber technology to carry digital payloads, which carry telephone, Internet and private data traffic. They are typically 69 millimetres (2.7 in) in diameter and weigh around 10 kilograms per metre (7 lb/ft), although thinner and lighter cables are used for deep-water sections.
As of 2010, submarine cables link all the world’s continents except Antarctica. More on Wikipedia
Maps of the Internet’s Undersea World
Boat used to lay cable
Diagram of submarine cable
Contents of cable
1. Polythin cover of “Sabec”
2. Mylar tape
3. Anti rust iron
4. Alumunium protector from water infiltration
5. Cover of poly carbon
6. Compact copper
7. Glotein petrochemical
8. Fiber optics
Submarine Cable Repair
Interested in a piece of Internet history? Check out these submarine cable keepsakes:Submarine Cable