Anyone with a global network depends directly or indirectly on undersea cable connectivity. These undersea cable systems traverse the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans making global connectivity possible. But what do these cables look like? In case you ever wondered:
This is a typical undersea cable. The fiber optics are in the bundles toward the center. Then there are layers around the circumference of steel cables to provide strength and some flexibility. It requires enormous strength for an undersea cable to survive, as you can imagine.
When sourcing a global wide area network, your carrier’s undersea cable path will in part determine your latency. Even with your Internet-based SD-WAN, the underlying undersea cabling system makes a significant difference in latency.
Latency is determined by basic physics: distance. The more direct undersea cables have a higher cost than the less direct ones. That is one explanation for the reason why the best performing networks will cost more money. You, as the buyer, must decide on whether paying more money for 15ms or 20ms less latency is worth the money. In many cases, it is. The performance difference with TCP/IP is nearly exponential. This graph says it all: Looking at this chart, with 180ms latency and .01% packet loss, your maximum throughput is 0.81Mbps. With 160ms, that number is 0.91Mbps, an increase of 12.3 percent. The 20ms makes a very big difference.