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Subsea Sensing and Innovation


In a previous post, we looked at a recent study by OSA that examined the potential of transforming long-haul fiber optic transmission cables into sensing cables. If this were to happen, it would enable submarine cable owners, and operators, to explore previously unexplored parts of the ocean and even predict geophysical events. 

Subsea Fiber Optic Sensing 

Our FIMT is more than ready for the exciting developments in fiber optic sensing. For example, the Sonosens cable is a solution that includes high sensitivity and a robust design. It’s designed for Distributed Acoustic Sensing in challenging environments and is, therefore, a prime candidate for the above-mentioned subsea sensing developments. Sonosens can detect microseismic events and gather data that can predict tsunamis, landslides, and earthquakes. The cable boasts enhanced sensing capabilities which come from its unique design. The product’s highly innovative features include perforations along the steel tube and perfect fiber coupling. The perforations allow direct access of the acoustic signals to the fibers which are in contact with the metal tube throughout the entire cable length. This is what gives Sonosens its superior acoustic sensing capabilities.  

Innovation at NBG 

At our R&D facilities, we’re constantly working on ways to improve the strength and performance of our solutions. Our FIMT has already proven itself resilient against challenging conditions when integrated into a complete subsea cable. However, our continued stride towards innovation and excellence doesn’t stop there. We recently developed a brand-new technique to help our FIMT perform even better in Marine applications.  

By integrating water-blocking swellable yarns within our FIMT, we’ve devised an outstanding water-blocking solution that is reliable and cost-effective. We’re the only FIMT manufacturer in the world to use this technique. The yarn swells when it comes into contact with water, protecting the fibers in the event of a compromised outer layer of the cable. Water-blocking yarn is a spliceless, clean (particle-free) material that offers exceptionally reliable performance in saltwater. 

We developed this technique as an alternative to our standard water-blocking gel. This was required because many of our FIMTs boast an extremely high fiber count (192 fibers w/ 200µm OD). The yarns ensure full compliance against EN60794-1-22 F5 (water penetration test). 


This post has covered two separate developments – one for the potential of subsea sensing and the other a product breakthrough at NBG – but they dovetail with one another to represent what we’re all about. Firstly, our subsea FIMT is future-proof and ready to help our customers, and parners, explore the ocean’s depths with fiber optic sensing. And secondly, our products are resilient enough to survive the harsh conditions, and we’re always coming up with innovative methods, such as swellable yarns, to make them even more robust. 

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