A Journey To The Bottom Of The Internet

[MUSIC PLAYING] LO: Close your eyes. And in your head, picture the
internet, not your favorite app or website, but what you think
the internet itself looks like. Got a good picture of it? OK, now open your eyes. Ta-da! The internet. NAT: So maybe you’re thinking,
that’s not the internet. The internet is, like, my Wi-Fi
router or a huge data center somewhere, numbers
spinning through a tube. And that’s all basically true. But the internet is also
this massive physical network that connects us across the
planet, a planet whose surface is covered by 71% water. And it turns out a
lot of the internet is actually under water, running
through underwater internet cables. Yeah, pretty cool. Hey, I’m Nat. LO: An I’m Lo. And we go behind the
scenes at Google, learning about all this
stuff we’re curious about. As you can see, we’re on a boat. Why are we on a boat, you ask? Well, a little back story. NAT: Over the summer,
we met Dan and Lincoln from this YouTube
channel, What’s Inside? They cut stuff in half. And for a while,
they’ve been trying to get their hands on an
underwater internet cable. Well, we thought we might
be able to help them out with that. We eventually tracked down
Vijay, a fiber optics engineer at Google that helps create
these cable networks. And we also got extremely lucky. LO: Only a few hours away from
our office in New York, one of the companies Google and
Vijay work with, TE Subcom, was about to start laying down
a new cable system called Monet. Even though there’s already
about 250 active undersea internet cables that connect
major cities and large data centers all over the
world, every year, we share more information
than ever before. NAT: So Monet, which will
stretch from Florida to Brazil, will add an important new
connection between North and South America. And four companies, Antel,
Algar, Angola Cables, and Google partnered
to create it. So of course, we
booked it up there and met John and Chris and
Jeff, who showed us around for the day. And we finally got to get
our hands on some up close underwater internet cable. LO: Ha! JOHN: So very close to
shore, it looks like this. LO: All right, pause. Didn’t you think
these cables were going to be huge,
like tree trunk huge? I mean, we did. NAT: But it turns out,
like a lot of things, it’s what’s inside that counts. And what’s inside these cables
are extremely tiny strands of glass. VIJAY: Each fiber is
approximately the size of a strand of hair. The fiber has to be of
exquisitely high quality glass, so no impurities whatsoever. NAT: These immaculate
little strands, these are the internet. And Vijay told us
the way they work is by transmitting your
photos, videos, and web pages as pulses of light. VIJAY: All these
modern cables can carry 100 terabits of traffic. LO: So just to put that
in perspective, that’s like transmitting
this video that you’re watching 10 million times. JOHN: This is the beginning
of where a cable is made. So you can see before you a
number of bobbins of fiber. NAT: The fibers
are coded in colors and organized in pairs because
they’re bi-directional. So for example, a blue might
be sending traffic west and a red sending traffic east. And John told us there could
be anywhere from a couple pairs to a dozen
pairs in one cable. But typically, each
company, like Google, will just get a single pair. JOHN: So everything after
this that you’re going to see is really to protect the fiber. LO: First, there’s
a small plastic tube that goes over them. And they stuff it with gel
to keep the fibers in place. Then, small steel wires are
put around that for strength. Copper is then
wrapped around all of that to seal everything in. NAT: The copper also helps power
repeaters, these large bulges in the tube every
50 miles or so, which amplify the light
across the thousands and thousands of miles
that these cables stretch. After that, everything’s
covered in a plastic tube, which looks like this. JOHN: This is the insulator to
protect the copper as voltage is applied to it. So now, this cable from
here out is basically ready to go in very deep water. NAT: But where the cable
needs to be stronger, like closer to shore or in areas
where there’s a lot of fishing, they’ll add one or two more
layers of galvanized steel with this crazy machine. And then for the last step,
a spindle of nylon threads covers the cable. And then it’s coated in tar. CHRIS: Once it’s
assembled in the factory, it starts its life on a reel. It will go to a pan. It goes into a tank building. LO: Are these all
full right now? JOHN: Most of them
are, not all of them. We need– [BANGS TANK] That one’s empty. [LAUGHTER] That one’s full. NAT: So when a ship is
being loaded, how many pans would it take to fill it up? JOHN: I would have to
estimate around 100 pans. LO: Whoa! NAT: From the tank
building, the cable makes its way onto the ship down
the aptly named cable highway. Then it drops down into
the ship’s hull, where it’s coiled in gigantic reels. It takes about a
month to load up the ship to leave
port with everybody working around the
clock in 12 hour shifts. JEFF: When the
ship finishes loading, then it will sail
down to where it’s going to start
the project, which is in Boca Raton, Florida. The ship will get a close as
it possibly can to the shore. Then they’ll float cable
right up to the beach. LO: Usually, the cable
is buried near the shore so it doesn’t get in the
way of surfers and swimmers. And a remote operated plow
is dragged behind the ship to bury the cable. CHRIS: We want to get that
cable embedded in the sea bed. If it’s a very
soft, gooey seabed, we need to bury it really deep. If it’s something
that’s fairly hard, just a little bit of burial
will get you enough protection. NAT: The path the cable takes
is surveyed out ahead of time so it can run along flat
stretches of the ocean floor as much as possible,
as well as avoid things like coral
reefs, shipwrecks, as well as other
bigger challenges. CHRIS: Across the
Atlantic, for example, you cross the
mid-Atlantic ridge. That’s an underwater
mountain range. So we have to engineer the
cable to avoid the steep slopes. And then we have
to change the armor to ensure that it doesn’t
abrade over its life while it’s laying over
that rough terrain. LO: So it’s like
you’re actually laying a cable across a
mountain, up a mountain. CHRIS: Yeah, if you
can envision a blimp flying over the country. And then we’re laying
the cable from the blimp. NAT: To install the Monet cable,
there were actually two ships. The first ship started in
Brazil and installed the cable up and around, while the second
ship, the one that we visited, set sail south from Florida. And then it picked up the
cable the other ship had laid and fused it together
with the one it was installing to form one long cable. And in case you’re wondering,
picking a cable off the ocean floor and fusing it together
with another chunk of cable is exactly what happens
if a cable is damaged, say, from an anchor
or a hungry shark. Just kidding about
that shark part. It is true that they do
occasionally bite them, but they don’t really
damage them when they do. LO: It’s pretty crazy to
see the months of work that go into laying just
one of these cables. And it’s thanks to
that work that we have this physical connection
between continents, which allows us to see videos and
news and photos from anywhere in the world almost
instantaneously. NAT: And then to realize this
is not some new technology. The first transatlantic
telegraph cable was actually laid more than 150 years ago. And it looks almost
identical to today’s cables. The only thing that’s really
different is the fibers inside. JOHN: The whole idea of
putting something as fragile as glass into a cable that
has to be pulled and put under pressure that will
crush a heavy steel cylinder, and then have it transmit the
amount of data it can is really mind blowing when
you think about it. NAT: Thanks for watching. And definitely go
check out What’s Inside video to see if they
can cut this cable in half. DAN: I’m pretty
sure we can do this. LINCOLN: I’m sorry, but I’m
confident that you cannot cut it at all. I really don’t think
you can cut this open.

100 thoughts on “A Journey To The Bottom Of The Internet

  1. Doesn't anyone think this is weird they r still doing this with all the satellites already up in the sky and with elon musk adding another 15k. Why would we do all this if we have those.

  2. Came from the whats inside video because they mentioned your channel had a more in depth explanation. I'm glad I saw this videi vecause it was extremely educational. Subscribed to see more of your adventures.

  3. I suspect that the number of viewers who have a crush on Lo will be significantly higher than the number that don't.

  4. Hello All. Well of all the videos of submarine cable laying and internet cables this is one of the best basic videos I have ever seen. As a great Cable installer myself Everything in this video is simple but true. I think they did a great job of explaining how it all works. Well done.

  5. What a great video! That kind of cheered me up. It really is mind blowing that a pristine, fragile fiber optic cable can be made to survive the depths of the Atlantic so that we can all watch cat videos in 4K.

  6. That was really interesting. I'm an IT guy myself, and I actually did not know about any of this. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've got a piece of the really old telegraph cable. It's extremely thick copper and very heavy (also worth a small fortune)

  8. The gel isn't for keeping it in place, its to prevent any possiblewater from being able to directly contact the cable. If any chance there would be a leak

  9. Tree trunk Huge no…. That's the size of your typical dildo ladies so… what's the problem? You just need to put an end on it and you are good to go.

  10. yeah and as far as cyberspace goes Australia is worse than a 3rd world country when it comes to available cables to overseas countries,……..no wonder my ping rates are so high and I get killed on international gaming.

  11. If I was sub'd to this channel back in 2016 I would've recognized you both! That's so cool you two came to our company! I hope you enjoyed it 😀

  12. Thank you for putting all the effort to create that video. I find it very interesting as a computer science student.

  13. I just wanted WHAT'S INSIDE video about cutting it .But this video was made about 2 years ago . What took sooo long for them

  14. So why Tf these scientists keep going to outer space but they keep fucking up our atmosphere but the internet coming from the ocean

  15. So two questions. Is the cables magnetic field affecting the marine life? And do the cables rise the ocean's temperature in the area?

  16. Hoppenworth! I see you managed to get into the video twice. Is that Mike at 4:50 lifting the repeater rack too? Glad to see some people I know still working there. Trying to get back on but NMS is giving me a major hassle for some reason so am with Maersk for now.

  17. What’s inside brought me here as well and I’ve subscribed! Some of the best and educational videos on here! Keep them coming!

  18. 97% of all telecommunications travel via cable. Today, it's all about fibre optics, but there is so much data moving back and forth that even fibre optic cables are running out of capacity.

  19. Well, i'm not going to yell at my internet service operator next time my internet goes out.
    It's amazing how much we take for granted today.

  20. This is wonderful content 😀

    That cable burial rig is new to me. I thought the cable were laid in the same fashion it was in 1866, where the first working transantlantic cable laid by the SS Great Eastern

  21. One question : That optical internet providing cable are affected there some submarine and under water migrated ships, sometime war suitation , so how to handling there …

  22. Amazing! Always wanted to find out deeply about it and never found a good video. Thank you and WELL DONE!

  23. 100 terabits of traffic so 100 * 10^12 bits so 10^14 bits. 10 Million times so 10^7 divide and you get 10^7 so 10 000 000 bits so that's 1.25 megabytes. Do you honestly think this video is 1.25 MB?

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