Submarine Cable Abstracts

The following are abstracts of technical papers dealing with submarine cables.

Makai does not own the rights to these papers, but interested parties may contact the owners of the publication rights to purchase a copy.

New Tools to Improve the Speed and Efficiency of Repair Operations
Andres, J., Jefferies, S., Lipp, D., and Jasti, V., 2013. Sub Optic, Dubai, UAE

The recent ROGUCCI report published in April 2010 identified competition for limited resources as one of the main reasons for extended duration outages of damaged undersea cables. A limited number of ships with the specialized crew and equipment needed for accessing and repairing subsea cables are available worldwide. This paper describes how using sophisticated 3D cable modeling technology to monitor and control, in real-time, the cable bottom tension and touchdown conditions can increase the speed and efficiency of an entire cable repair operation. This cable repair management system is the logical extension of the GIS based integrated planning and installation software packages that have been successfully used by commercial cable installers for the last decade.

 

Cable Route Planning and Installation Control: Recent Advances
Andres, J., Fang, T., and Nedbal, M., 2007. SubOptic, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Recent software advances have improved the efficiency and accuracy of cable route planning and have provided better quality assurance and control during installation – important improvements for both the owner and installer. Geographic information system (GIS) technology has proven to be a reliable means of integrating various data forms into a single platform. Recent developments in 3D GIS provide the capability to deal with very large data sets and convey information more effectively than traditional, 2D static maps. In cable installations, real-time slack management systems have been expanded for tension control of lay operations, typical of power cables and plow operations.

 

New Tools for Cable Route Planning
Andres, J., Nedbal, M., and Lipp D., 2007. Submarine Telecom Forum, Virginia, USA

The application of digital technology to planning, installation and maintenance of submarine cables has steadily improved in recent years. The introduction of PC-based route planning software seven years ago replaced paper charts and spreadsheet-based tools with geographic information system (GIS) databases that efficiently store all data critical to route planning. Technological advancements in recent years have included tools for the incorporation of bathymetric survey data, detailed analysis of in-line and side slopes, and the capability of automatically detecting and analyzing cable suspensions.

(Downloadable 0.4MB PDF File)

 

Integrating At-Sea Cable Maintenance with Cable Route Planning and Installation Databases
VanRyzin, J.C., Gillenwaters, G.D., and Andres, J.M., 2002. International Cable Protection Committee , Naples Florida

The design, installation and maintenance of any submarine cable are difficult collaborative efforts requiring the close coordination of widely dispersed individuals and information. Recently, the industry has been synchronizing these efforts and sharing data through integrated planning and installation software, and these collaborative efforts are now extending out into the maintenance and repair sectors.

In the last three years, methods used for route planning of submarine cables have been completely transformed. Paper charts and simple spreadsheet-based tools have been substituted for accurate PC-based software that works on a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment. All data critical to the design is stored in a single database, and readily retrievable and viewed as layers on a GIS map. This software has become the standard for cable route planning.

In the last year, this GIS-based planning software has been extended to include detailed installation planning and to provide real-time monitoring and control of the cable installation on the vessel. Today, the cable installer has a true representation of what is happening to the cable and bodies throughout the water column and touchdown and, more importantly, he has the capability to control the seabed slack and placement of the cable. At the end of the lay, the GIS database is appended to include all as-laid information. Many modern cable ships now have these real-time cable management systems onboard.

Currently, these databases and cable installation tools are being expanded for its use during cable repair and maintenance operations. The user will have at his fingertips all the required information precisely integrated and positioned in a geographical information system. The user will have available existing cables,  detailed survey data, sub-bottom conditions, as-laid conditions for the cable to be repaired (slack, transition locations, type of fibers used, burial depth, etc.), and similar data for other nearby cables. These data will be provided quickly and easily together with accurate electronic charting and navigation capabilities. The user will be able to easily update the as-laid conditions of the cable after repair (new lengths and cable types and fibers used, etc.).

This paper describes the current-state-of-the-art in integrated software for planning, installation and, in particular, maintenance and repair.

 

 

The Dynamincs of Submarine Cable Laying
Andres, J.M., Leraand, T.K., and VanRyzin, J.C., 2001. Sub Optic, Kyoto, Japan

During the installation of a submarine cable, numerous events occur which complicate the installer’s understanding, and therefore, his ability to control how the cable is actually being laid on the seabed. Dynamic events occurring with transitions and repeaters and with contingency events such as a lay stop make controlling the seabed touchdown conditions difficult. Cable routes today are more challenging, and cable dynamics play a major role in the installation, as lighter cables are installed to higher accuracy along routes that are increasingly complicated.

Cable laying dynamics are today accurately computer and included into both the planning process and the at-sea installation process. Rigorous and fast mathematical models of the installation process can be used prior to a cable lay to create a ship plan where there is a thorough understanding of the relationship between actions on the ship and touchdown conditions on the seabed. Finally, similar cable-laying tools can be used at-sea to both monitor and control a cable installation allowing the installer to follow an original plan and to properly respond to inevitable variations in that plan. The described software has been thoroughly tested and calibrated during at-sea trials and on military and commercial cable lays.

 

 

New Software Systems for Submarine Cable Planning and Installation
Van Ryzin, J.C., Lipp, D.G., and Andres, J.M., 2000. Proceedings of the Submarine Networks World 2000 Conference, Barcelona, Spain  

Computer software is now available for submarine cable planning and installation that both reduces training time and improves quality. Cable planners no longer need to tediously translate data from rolls of paper charts, compute distances and slopes, and check RPL accuracy. Cable engineers no longer have to guess at what will happen on the seabed as cable types change or the ship speed and course is altered. With the assistance of accurate solutions by validated code, these professionals can better provide the quality that is needed in submarine cable installations today.

Quality improvements can reduce costs in cable installations. Submarine cable installation quantity is dramatically increasing, new ships and new personnel are being used to meet this demand and today’s lighter cables are more difficult to install. The installation and maintenance costs dominate the total system cost, and the daily loss of revenue from a damaged cable is skyrocketing. These new tools minimize human error, reduce the added time at sea due to errors, and reduce the probability of bottom cable failure. This paper describes newly developed software that is available for (1) the planning of submarine cable installations and (2) for the accurate at-sea installation of cables.

 

 

Collaborative Submarine Cable Installation Planning
Lipp, D.G., Andres, J.M., and Van Ryzin, J.C., 2000. Proceedings of the UI2000 International Conference, Houston, Texas

The installation of submarine fiber-optic cables is a thriving global business. Every corner of the world is being wired into the “Communication Age” with over 100,000 route-km of submarine fiber optic cable installed each year. Cables are being laid to areas never before served with such communication capabilities. This means new and more challenging lay environments using cables that are at once more delicate and more economically vital to their owners and the communities they serve. In addition to communications cables, there is a large demand for complex subsea cables and cable arrays to satisfy the needs for marine oil surveying, military surveillance/training arrays, and seismic warning systems.

Existing cable planning tools are highly iterative and require considerable manual interface.  Existing tools do not have the capabilities to quickly and effectively create and edit cable lay plans. During the design of a cable route much reference data is either accessed or created. There is no standard or common format for this data, thus the designer must integrate paper charts, CAD files, spreadsheets, and text files to complete the planning process.  The process is slow, difficult to check, and prone to errors. In addition, development of the cable route is a multi-step process, and much of the relevant data used for decision making during each step is not passed along in the planning process.  Often changes are not made because the reference data is no longer available, or because of the amount of time it may take to re-generate related data sets.

MakaiPlan software was developed to simplify the cable system planning process. Its principal features include:

  • MakaiPlan utilizes a Geographic Information System (GIS) which allows the user to access and tie together a wide variety of existing shoreline, and bathymetry data, previous surveys and navigational charts. The GIS environment allows the planner to visualize the cable lay as it develops.

  • MakaiPlan provides a convenient means for sharing data between collaborators in the planning process. Project files can be zipped, FTP or e-mailed from directly within MakaiPlan (Figure 1). All participants can share the same information and provide input to the planning process.

 

 

Developing a GIS based Cable Planning Management System
Andres J.M., and Lipp, D.G., 1999. Submarine Networks Conference, London

The installation of submarine fiber-optic cables is a thriving global business. Every corner of the world is being wired into the “Communication Age” with over 100,000 route-km of submarine fiber optic cable installed each year. Cables are being laid to areas never before served with such communication capabilities. This means new and more challenging lay environments using cables that are at once more delicate and more economically vital to their owners and the communities they serve. In addition to communications cables, there is a large demand for complex subsea cables and cable arrays to satisfy the needs of marine oil surveying, military surveillance/training arrays, and seismic warning systems.

 

 

A Comprehensive GIS Based Cable Planning Management System
Andres J.M., and Lipp, D.G., 1999
. International Cable Protection Counsel, Plenary Meeting, Dubai

The installation of submarine fiber-optic cables is a thriving global business. Every corner of the world is being wired into the “Communication Age” with over 100,000 route-km of submarine fiber optic cable installed each year. Cables are being laid to areas never before served with such communication capabilities. This means new and more challenging lay environments using cables that are at once more delicate and more economically vital to their owners and the communities they serve. In addition to communications cables, there is a large demand for complex subsea cables and cable arrays to satisfy the needs for marine oil surveying, military surveillance/training arrays, and seismic warning systems.

This paper focuses on the development of a new Cable Planning Management System which will significantly change the accuracy, sped and sophistication of the entire cable lay

 

 

Real-Time Controls Aid Seismic Survey Cable Deployment and Retrieval
Andres, J.M., 1998. Offshore

Use of existing technology originally developed to accurately install fiber optic cables with in-line bodies for the military has been adopted in the last few years by the telecommunication companies to install the new generation of fiber optic cables. This technology is also well suited for offshore oil exploration in the deployment and retrieval of cables for 4D/4C seismic surveys in deep water.

This technology utilizes a sophisticated real-time cable installation control system which accurately computes the geometry and forces on the suspended cable during a lay to determine the cable touchdown position and the cable bottom slack (or tension). The control system takes into account all parameters which affect the cable shape behind the vessel: cable physical properties, ship velocity, bathymetry, currents (if available) and other parameters affecting the dynamics and accuracy of the cable lay. With such knowledge available at all times, immediate and accurate cable lay forecasts and command decisions can be made that account for any complex real-world situation, both planned and unplanned.

Use of the control system changes the focus of cable deployment control from the cable condition as it leaves the vessel (current practice) to its condition on the seafloor, and therefore, allows cable installers to focus on the most important issue in any cable lay: The installed condition of the cable on the seafloor. The sophisticated computer model monitors in near real-time the cable bottom conditions in the recent past and can predict the results of future cable and ship actions on cable seafloor conditions. The result is a major improvement in the installer’s knowledge of the cable’s condition on the seafloor and in his ability to predict and control touchdown conditions. Cable lays that were previously thought to be impossible have been performed with high accuracy and reliability.

This paper describes the cable deployment control system, its at-sea control and simulation capabilities, results from several at-sea operations, and its principal advantages.

 

 

The Real-Time Control of Cable Seafloor Slack and Placement, The Present and Future
Van Ryzin, J.C., Andres, J.M., and Jefferies, S.R., 1997. Sub Optic, San Francisco, California

This paper is a review of real-time installation procedures for submarine cables in terms of the control of cable slack and cable position on the seafloor. Present cable installation operations use an open-loop control system that has no feedback of the cable conditions on the seabed. These systems have limited or no ability to properly respond to a cable placement error on the seafloor. Closed-loop control methods have been developed and are presently in use. These methods more adequately close the feedback loop between cable conditions on the seafloor and operational response on the cable ship. Seabed slack and cable position are being controlled in real-time using sophisticated 3D dynamic cable models on board the cable ship. Developments are underway to incorporate full automation and cable torsion into these control systems.

 

 

Recent Advances in Submarine Cable Deployment Technology and Their Importance to the Owner and Installers
Andres, J.M., 1996. Fiberoptic Submarine Systems Symposium, Hong Kong

Submarine cable systems are a vital and expanding part of the worldwide telecommunication network. Although fiberoptic cables have decreased both in size and in price, and have increased in circuit carrying capacity, the techniques used to install such cables across the world’s oceans have changed very little. Cable installation and maintenance is now the most expensive part of a submarine cable system. To reduce costs cable installers have turned to techniques such as use of  “ships of opportunity”, which can be temporarily outfitted for cable deployment operations. Use of such vessels does reduce costs, but also reduces the accuracy and reliability of the lay, increasing the risk of cable damage during installation and increasing future cost of maintenance. Advanced real-time computerized cable lay control systems exist today that can change this equation. These control systems change the focus of cable deployment control from the cable condition as it leaves the vessel (current practice) to its condition at touchdown on the seafloor. These systems use sophisticated computer modeling to monitor in real-time the cable bottom condition in the recent past and to predict the results of future cable and ship actions. The result is a major improvement in the installer’s knowledge of the cable’s condition on the seafloor and in his ability to predict and control cable touchdown conditions. Cable lays that were previously thought to be impossible have been performed with high accuracy and reliability. Use of such advanced deployment control reduces to acceptable levels the risks associated with “ships of opportunity” and very well complements such techniques without large cost increases. Given the advantages both for the cable system owner and the installer, use of an advanced cable deployment system should be included in contract specifications for all submarine cable lays where accuracy, reliability, and risk reduction are of concern.

 

 

Real-Time Modeling of Micro Cable Deployments
Andres, J.M., Jefferies, S.R., and Gillenwaters, G.D., 1995.
Oceans, Marine Technical Society/American Institute of Electrical Engineers, San Diego, California

Extensive at-sea experiments completed by the Naval Civil Engineering Lab. (NCEL) during the Underwater Deployment Experiment (UDX) have provided a unique set of data that confirms differences between deployment of traditional large-diameter cables and the new generation of micro fiber optic cables (diam.<0.2″).  These data have been used to validate existing cable dynamic models, such as SEADYN and the Makai cable model, under different deployment scenarios which include slow and rapid deployment of micro cables and deployment of micro cables with heavy in-line bodies. This paper discusses the results of these comparisons in terms of modeling accuracy and computational speed.  The results demonstrate that the Makai cable model is capable of accurately modeling, faster than real-time, realistic deployment scenarios of micro fiber optic cables.  The paper goes on to briefly outline the adaptation of an existing real-time control system, successfully used to deploy conventional cables, to automatically control deployment of micro cables with a high degree of positional accuracy and slack control.

(Downloadable 3.6MB PDF File)

 

 

Decreasing Costs & Risks While Increasing Reliability of Submarine Cable Installations
Andres, J.M. and Van Ryzin, J.C., 1995. Pacific Telecommunications Counsel, Honolulu, Hawaii

Use of existing technology originally developed to install small diameter fiber optic cables used in military operations is now available to install commercial underwater cable systems to very high standards.  This paper describes recent advances in the area of deployment and retrieval control for submarine cable operations, presents results from recent cable system installations using this technology, and discusses economic advantages for both the owner and the cable layer.  The use of this technology allows real-time control of the ship and cable handling system during a cable lay and provides the cable layer with the most thorough and accurate information possible on cable condition during the lay:  accurate cable touchdown location (for future reference, recoveries and repair), cable slack on the bottom (to minimize unwanted cable suspensions on the ocean bottom), and cable loads (to properly handle the low tensile strength of the new generation of cables).  The real-time control features allow the cable layer to properly and safely respond to changing conditions during the cable lay and reduce ship requirements allowing the use of a “ship of opportunity” to decrease deployment costs.

 

 

Validations of a Real-Time Cable Deployment Control System for Slack Cable Laying
Andres, J.M., Jefferies, S.R., and Gillenwaters, G.D., 1993. Oceans, Victoria, Canada

The validation of a real-time control system for the deployment of submarine communication cables is presented. The control system allows the user to accurately control  cable bottom slack and position the cable along a pre-planned route. The system was successfully used to lay an underwater acoustic tracking range for the U.S. Navy. A total of eight, 40 miles long cables, each having eight in-line hydrophones and several repeaters were laid in water depths of 40 m to 1800 m, off San Clemente Island, California. The hydrophones were placed within specific targets along the cable routed despite multiple abrupt turns in the paths, and a fully functional acoustic range is now in place. The flexibility and accuracy of the system in controlling cable bottom slack.

 

 

Real-Time Control System for Ocean Cable Deployment
Andres, J.M., 1993. Sea Technology

For the last three decades, commercial cable lay operations have relied heavily on the work developed by E.E. Zajac in 1957. Although more sophisticated cable model programs have been developed in the last decade, their use has been restricted to early planning and post-processing of data collected in cable deployment operations and primarily for military operations and academic purposes. In addition to not being able to operate in real time, these programs are not designed to operate as full control systems able to direct the cable vessel and cable engine and deal with the contingencies that occur during a cable lay operation.

This article describes recent developments in real-time control of cable deployment operations. These new developments have increased the accuracy with which cables and attached object can be laid on the ocean bottom, improved reliability, and decreased risks associated with these operations. Following are a basic description of a cable deployment control system, results obtained in several at-sea operations, and discussion of future developments.

The integrated control system (ICS) for cable deployment operations relies on a real-time computer model that computes a full mathematical solution of the suspended cable and provides periodic instructions to the ship and cable handling equipment to lay the cable along the desired path with the proper tension (or slack).

In order to properly computer cable shapes, touchdown positions, and cable tensions (or slack), the control system requires the measurement of a sufficient number of key parameters used to obtain a mathematical solution. The quality and type of input data used play an essential role in determining the final placement accuracy of the cable.

 

 

Hawaii Deep Water Cable Program: Results of the At-Sea Test Cable Lay
Andres, J.M., Jefferies, S.R., and Jensen, D.N, 1990. Marine Technical Society, Washington D.C.

This paper presents detailed results of three cable lays in the Alenuihaha Channel completed during the At-Sea Test as a part of the Hawaii Deep Water Cable Program.  The cable was laid in water depths of 920 to 1920 meters and along sloping bottoms that in some areas exceeded 40 degrees. The cable path on the north (Maui) side of the channel imposed severe restrictions on the accuracy of cable placement on the bottom (±11.5m), while on the south (Kohala) side of the channel, very low cable bottom tensions were required to minimize the possibility of laying unacceptably long cable spans. Transponders attached to the cable were used to determine cable position on the bottom, and a submersible was used to measure the cable bottom tension and any cable spans. These results are compared with the computed touchdown positions and cable tensions predicted by a sophisticated computerized control system aboard the ship. Results show that the cable was placed very accurately on the desired cable path, far exceeding the requirements.

 

 

A Real Time Integrated Control System for Laying Cables in the Ocean
Van Ryzin, J.C., Resnick, A.M., and Jefferies, S.R., 1990. Marine Technical Society, Washington D.C.

An integrated system to accurately control the placement and tensioning of a submarine power cable in very deep water has been developed and tested. The Integrated Control System (ICS) incorporates real time measurements and processing of ocean currents, ship positions and cable payout together with bathymetry, cable characteristics and cable history to accurately compute the shape, tensions and touchdown characteristics of the suspended submarine cable. Other computer models extend this cable solution into the future based on forecasted currents and compute new instructions for the ship and cable handling equipment. In the development of this control system, a simulator was created to exercise the ICS programs, to train the cable lay operators and to plan and practice the cable lay operations.

The control system has been successfully tested. An 8000m long cable was repeatedly laid in water depths of 1920m and down steep slopes with an average error of 4.68 meters.

 

 

A 3-D Model For Cable Lay Operations
Jefferies, S.R. and Andres, J.M., 1990. Marine Technical Society, Washington D.C
.

The mathematic model used to lay the Hawaii Deep Water Cable is presented. The model is described and compared to the catenary equation and Zajac’s steady state solution. The effect of current measurement uncertainty and the use of transponders to reduce this uncertainty is examined. A discussion of ship l is presented and a linear theory proposed.

 

 

Computing for Real Time Cable Control
Resnick, A.M., Jensen, D.N., 1990. Marine Technical Society, Washington D.C.

The Hawaii Deep Water Cable Program proved the feasibility of deep (2000m) power cable laying. It required a computing platform capable of receiving data, model computation, displaying commands, operator interaction, and reliable ship-board operation. This paper describes the selection, configuration and operation of the computer platform.

The system was successfully operated at sea showing that:

  • Precise, real time, control was achieved from complicated algorithms using real time oceanographic data.

  • The selection methodology discussed in the paper satisfactorily selects a platform for the operation.

  • A multi-tasking interface provided the operator with control over a complex system in real time.

The at sea test opens up a whole field of opportunity for precise real time control of at sea operations.