North American Network Operators Group

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Re: photo: transatlantic cables coming ashore

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Fri Feb 08 18:40:48 2008

On Fri, 8 Feb 2008, Scott Francis wrote:
Ran across this at Wired today, and it seemed apropos to recent events:

I particularly liked the photographer's observation: "There's a humor
because the cables are so important, yet they look so unguarded and
unimportant," Simon said.

they probably look even more unguarded and unimportant on the seafloor ...

If you think about it, how many of the 1.5 trillion miles of telephone
wires in the USA are "guarded?" How much is left in the open, hanging
exposed on telephone poles, passing through unlocked manholes, etc, etc, etc.

Sometimes people misunderstand how things actually work in the world. We don't have "secure roads." If you are going to ship valuable stuff over
the highway hire a armored car, and plan multiple alternate routes.
Likewise, the telecommunications network outside plant is pretty basic without any special protection unless you plan (and usually pay) for it.

There are some telecommunication routes with pressurized conduits, special
fiber optic laser monitoring to detect bending or tampering, and so forth.
But I'm not sure how much of that James Bond stuff is just expensive or
actually makes a difference for those particular subscribers. Or does all
that security generate a lot of false alarms and ends up with a self-inflicted denial of service. Do you think the US Embassy in
Moscow really trusts the Moscow telephone company?