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Underwater Fiber Optic Sensing: Our Cables are Ready for the Future

Submarine communications cables on a white sandy bottom (Playa d

A recent study by OSA shows that the same fiber optic cables that transfer data across the world’s oceans can also be used to sense and predict geophysical events. The depths of the ocean are the places on Earth that are most inaccessible and immune to fiber optic sensing. The ability to monitor the ocean and its seabed conditions would be ground-breaking. 

Existing monitoring infrastructure such as buoys and cabled observatories are primitive in comparison. They can only monitor their immediate surroundings. An underwater fiber-optic network would provide people the opportunity to examine previously unexplored parts of the ocean. 

The study predicted that sea waves and earthquakes would be among the geophysical events measured by the fiber optic cables. People will analyze the stress, strain, and pressure on the long-haul transmission cable and then use the data to inform their predictions. The OSA study is significant. It could lead to a transformation of transoceanic fiber-optic networks. 

Zhongwen Zhan, assistant professor of geophysics at Caltech, said, “Once perfected, this new technique will allow geophysical sensing in the ocean depths, which are largely unexplored because of a lack of instru­mentation that works in this environment. It could one day be used to detect earthquakes with epicenters in the ocean, allowing earlier warnings of earthquakes and tsunamis, for example.” 

We use the highest quality materials to produce our FIMT (fiber in metal tubes), and 11.567 km of it has already been installed under the ocean floor. The cables are resilient against external influences, which is perfect for the subsea conditions covered in this post. Furthermore, they’re sensitive enough to detect any vibration in real-time via DAS (Distributed Acoustic Sensing). When (not if) the transoceanic fiber-optic networks are transformed to predict geophysical events accurately, our FIMT will be an ideal selection. 

Predicting geophysical events by long-haul transmission cables is just one example of a development for which we are prepared. Our dedication to providing high-quality custom solutions, with our additional efforts in R&D, makes our products prime contenders for whatever the future will bring. Our FIMT is the best product on the market for acoustic transmission; our obsession with high quality is perhaps our greatest asset in defining what’s next in fiber optic technology. 

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