ICS Engineering Inc.
Electrical Consulting | Communications | Automation

First Ocean Cable Crossing

With 100 GBPS fiber networks spanning continents, it's good to reflect on a bit of history of how we got to this point. It was 150 years ago, on July 27, 1866 that engineers made the first permanent ocean cable crossing from Europe to North America.

The cable was laid on the Atlantic Ocean bottom from Valentia Bay, Ireland to Heart's Content, Newfoundland. Newfoundland was not a part of Canada at that time.

There were other cable crossings attempt made in 1858 and 1865 but these early efforts quickly suffered from financial problems and technical failures including cable breaks and telluric currents.

The first cable crossing of the Atlantic Ocean at Valencia Bay, Ireland.
The historic location in Ireland where the trans-Atlantic cable came ashore to Europe.

The successful cable crossing had immediate economical and political effects.

We were now able to send messages between two continents at 6-8 words per minute instead of postal delivery of 10-12 days via freighter. It was reported that the price to send a telegram was $0.0003809 per word per mile, an astonishing price reduction than hiring a ship and crew.

The speed in communication lead to faster decision making between governments and companies and was the beginning of modern intercontinental communications.

Using the 'digital' communications scheme called Morse Code, the signal was able to travel the length of 1,852 nautical miles (3,430 km) under the ocean. A remarkable achievement in communication history.

Communication Design

The telegraph was one of the first electronic means that allowed us to communicate over long distances. Today, fiber communication networks span the world with submarine cable crossings.

The first cable crossing of the Atlantic Ocean at Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada.
Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada - The orginal cast iron casing that housed the first permanent trans-Atlantic telegraph cable between Europe and North America.

Communication networks are fast, cheap and reliable. The engineering is a bit more complex than 1866 but not more complicated. With so many technical choices, clients can now have a customized communication system specific to your needs, budget and future growth.

In the late 1800's, the British empire was linked with ocean-going telegraphic cables linking Europe with the North America and India. Security was done by geography, namely laying cable in friendly waters. Today, communication security is also based on cable location but corporate communication networks and industrial communication networks require more advanced methods of security.

In our modern age, it's increasingly important to ensure the safety and security of our communication networks.

For instance, pipeline companies use fiber optics, wireless and even dial-up modems to interface their remote PLC-based systems. These networks need to be hardened from a software and a hardware perspective to protect the integrity of their data and control sequences.

Communication network are the largest machine every built by human beings, one that spans all continents except Antarctica. Thank you to all of the numerous dreamers who believed in and delivered the impossible and made our lives better.

Fiber Optic Outage
First Ocean Cable Crossing

ICS Engineering Inc.
Edmonton 587-557-1152