The Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) undersea cable, which connects Vietnam with many countries in the region, is facing problems again from 26/7, noting that there had been no information about the repair work from the operator so far.
These incidents have immensely affected Internet use experiences of the Vietnamese lately like considerably slow speed, congestions, and even the inability to access websites with foreign servers.
Vietnam’s undersea internet cables break around 10 times a year on average, with each lasting for about a month.
The APG cable, officially launched in December 2016, is capable of providing bandwidths of up to 54 Tbps (Terabit per second). It runs 10,400 kilometers (6,460 miles) under the Pacific Ocean, linking Japan with Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Vietnam is considered one of the countries with the highest internet usage and development speed in the world. According to a global consumer survey by German data portal Statista, the number of internet users in the country reached approximately 69 million out of its population.
Sometimes undersea internet cable attacked by sharks?
In the search for new subsea oil fields, geologists use large vessels to tow several heavy-duty cables (called streamer cables) to collect seismic data. Equipped with hydrophones that receive the returned signals initiated from a seismic source, these streamer cables are deployed at about 16 – 65 feet (5–20 meters) deep, and each streamer is typically 26,247 ft (8 km) long. As one can imagine, this activity probably attracts numerous animals to check out what the ruckus is all about. One of these animals are sharks, who are attracted to the magnetic streamer fields and tend to bite through the cables! In some areas of the world, equipment loss due to shark attacks on streamer cables is a serious problem in terms of time delays and economic loss for the operator.
This isn’t the first time sharks have caused a headache for undersea cable systems- this problem goes back to 1980’s! According to Network World, even Google -2.4%GOOGL has had to wrap their internet cables in Kevlar-like material to prevent damaging shark bites. So why are sharks attracted to undersea data cables? It’s not exactly known. Some believe that because sharks can sense electromagnetic fields through jelly-filled pores on their snouts called ampullae of Lorenzini, perhaps they are attracted by this electrical current and confusing it for food. Alternatively, shark expert Dr. Chris Lowe from California State University suggested they may just be curious about them. “If you had just a piece of plastic out there shaped like a cable, there’s a good chance they’d bite that too,” said Dr. Lowe, who runs the Shark Lab, in the interview to Wired.
So what sharks are being naughty and making trouble? Multiple species, depending how deep the cables are at. But at this depth? One culprit may be bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) with their stout, grey bodies and short blunt snouts. A widely distributed shark in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide, they are common in areas where oil companies have encountered problems with sharks attacking the streamer cables. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed bull sharks as Near Threatened (NT) because their occurrences in estuarine and freshwater areas makes them vulnerable to human impacts.