How Teledata Overcame a Broken Submarine Cable

Last week you may have found your Teledata internet connection was much slower than expected, which was probably very frustrating – we agree! What happened was to do with a damaged cable along the ocean floor, and was beyond our control here in Ghana. However, how we were able to mitigate the issues shows the tenacity of our company and its employees.

However, how we were able to mitigate the issues shows the tenacity of our company and its employees.

As an ISP in Ghana, we obtain capacity from available submarine cable providers. These connect our customers in Ghana to the rest of the world; it is through these cables we can transmit our Internet service to our clients.  

Teledata is always connected to two different providers to balance the load. Having at least two different providers ensures we have the highest service availability possible delivered to our clients. In case one provider is down, we switch to another.

Unfortunately, over the weekend one of the submarine cables was damaged, causing a total disruption of this service. This submarine fiber cut meant we had to migrate all our clients on this cable to our other one. Moving all customer Internet traffic to one cable resulted in a capacity overload, network congestion, and slow browsing.

What are submarine cables?

For a bit of background, almost all Internet data travels through a massive system of fibre-optic cables, deep underneath the oceans. This network of cables connects Africa with the rest of the world. According to TeleGeography there are nearly 350 cables. Some cross oceans, others follow coasts down along continents. The whole network of submarine cables spans more than 885, 000 km.

These cables connect to “landing stations” along the seaboard. Specially-fitted ships take the wires out to lay them along the ocean floor and bury them. Fiber and wires make up the core of these underwater cables. A protective layer covers them, to keep the seawater out.

According to the UK Independent, the cables are several inches thick when they are near shore — around the width of a soda can. At the deepest levels of the ocean, they are thinner, around the size of a 50 pesewas coin. That difference in size is because the cables face more threats in shallow waters, including everything from being damaged by fishing ships to bitten by sharks.

So, sometimes they are cut, and a lot goes into fixing them. Either scuba divers or specialized small submersibles with cameras and lights are sent down to the seabed to investigate where the cuts are. Then, either the scuba divers or robotic arms on the submersible bring the two ends of the cable to the surface. Experts then re-splice and join the cables to fix them.

The company behind the damaged cable kept us updated as to what was happening. They told us it was going to take up to two weeks to restore service to the cable.

How Teledata’s tenacity got our customers back to their speedy internet

We knew that was going to be too long for us here at Teledata, and importantly,  for our clients.

While that company worked to fix the damaged cable, above water, here in Ghana we were all hands on deck. We worked round the clock to resolve the internet issues for our customers. Our technical crew and the whole team from Teledata embarked on a mission to find an alternative and backup service to replace the faulty connection temporarily. We wanted to ease the pressure and inconvenience of a slow network to our customers, as soon as possible.

Although it was our priority to get the backup functional on the same day the problem happened, it did take a couple of days more due to delayed service delivery from the provider, configuration and routing issues and other technical details.

We solved the problem, which makes us jubilant, and relieved. The network is back to normal thanks to our very hardworking and diligent professional team.

We commend our Customer Support Desk for the constant customer updates on the service status. We are also very grateful to our clients’ for their support, understanding, and cooperation during these very stressful few days.

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