• The cable unveiled recently will be constructed as part of a Google initiative named Africa Connect.
  • Google’s most recent network connection consists of two segments: One underwater and another constructed on land.

Google LLC has revealed Umoja, a new subsea internet cable named Umoja, aimed at connecting Africa and Australia.

This cable represents the most recent addition to a lineup of underwater networking endeavors revealed by the search giant. In April, Google outlined a USD 1 billion endeavor aimed at bolstering subsea internet infrastructure in the Pacific. Prior to that, it disclosed intentions to construct an undersea cable linking Portugal, Bermuda, and the U.S.

The Vice President of Global Network Infrastructure within Google LLC’s cloud division, Brian Quigley, penned a blog post earlier that said, “Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world. Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.”

According to a recent report from a leading media house, Google’s newest network connection consists of two components: one underwater and the other constructed on land. The latter section, developed in partnership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, has already been finished.

The terrestrial portion of the cable starts in Kenya, close to the country’s Indian Ocean coast. It spans southward through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe before joining the second submarine segment in South Africa. Subsequently, the cable proceeds underwater directly to Australia.

Google has not disclosed technical details regarding the design of the network link. Generally, subsea internet cables consist of numerous optical fiber strands, which are small data-transmitting wires crafted from glass. These strands, as thin as a human hair, can be densely packed into a single subsea cable, sometimes numbering in the dozens.

The data-carrying strands are enclosed within a protective casing made up of multiple layers. One of these layers is a waterproof polymer that prevents leaks. The outer cover also includes various types of metal cladding, which are designed to shield the internal networking equipment from damage.

At regular intervals along the cable, engineers install devices called optical repeaters. As data-carrying light beams travel through an optical network, they can lose information over long distances. Optical repeaters in a subsea cable intercept these light beams, generate a fresh copy and transmit the copy in place of the original to prevent data loss.

Google has also created several innovative technologies for its undersea internet infrastructure. Last year, the company introduced a new method for designing the hair-thin optical fiber strands that transmit light within a subsea cable.

A typical strand consists of two parts: a glass core through which data is transferred and a cover made of glass. The purpose of the cover is to keep light from escaping the core. Google has contributed to the development of a novel design that increases bandwidth by allowing an optical fiber strand to have two data-transmitting cores rather than just one.

The recently announced cable will be constructed under Google’s Africa Connect initiative. Previously, this initiative included the deployment of the Equiano subsea network link, which connects South Africa with Portugal. This cable runs along the West African coast, with branching points to Togo, Nigeria, St. Helena, and Namibia.