Designing Cost-Effective and Reliable Submarine Communications Cable Path : Lessons From the Tonga Volcano Disaster

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
Journal / PublicationIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number7
Online published22 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023



Submarine communications cables are essential infrastructure in modern society, but they are also vulnerable to unpredictable disasters, and their breakage may have dire social and economic consequences. Motivated by the lessons from the Tonga volcano eruption in 2022, we incorporate the volcano risk factor with the other considerations (including earthquakes, fishing, anchoring, terrain slope, and marine protected areas) that have been considered in previous publications, and explain the Fast Marching Method-based path planning of submarine cables. To consider the effect of volcanos, we also introduce constraints based on keeping safety distances (zero, short or long) from each volcano, by setting infinite risk value in areas to be avoided. We then provide the approximate Pareto front of the cost and risk of submarine cable paths for different stakeholders' reference. We demonstrate that significant cost savings and reduced cable faults could have been achieved for the Tonga-Fiji cable system using our method, keeping in mind that our conclusions are based only on publicly available data.

Research Area(s)

  • Volcanoes, Underwater cables, Communication cables, Costs, Safety, Path planning, Maintenance engineering, Submarine cable path planning, volcano, Fast Marching Method, Pareto front, Tonga-Fiji cable

Download Statistics

No data available