Optical fiber cables transmit data as light pulses over long distances so we can have Internet access and stream Netflix or check our social networks. And their performance is really well, at least until an animal decides is time to eat delicious glass strands and shut down our connections.
You might be thinking about Roy Scheider in Jaws 2 feeding that bloody-thirsty Great White with a power cable and blowing it up, but that’s not the case. What could happen when a shark bites a cable is that you are not going to be able to stream that horror movie you were dying to watch.
Shark attacks to undersea optical fiber networks have been reported since 1987 and though they are not the biggest danger submerged cables can suffer, companies decided to take action by protecting cables with a Klevar-like material and burying them under the seafloor.
Squirrels are little and adorable chewing machines that start to look like furry monsters when you find out they have a taste for optical fiber, being the main animal cause of Internet outages. The reason why squirrels like biting cables so much isn’t known yet, maybe they use cables to sharpen their teeth or perhaps cable jackets taste like peanuts.
When walking through the ancient City of Varanasi you can see colorful buildings, the Ganges River, antique temples and little tech-hating cute macaque monkeys biting optical fiber cables.
Since these adorable monkeys are considered sacred, authorities have no idea of how to stop them. Maybe they are planning to take control of the world and started by damaging our communication system. Hey, it sounds like a good movie plot! Wait…
Imagine yourself opening a cable termination box to check why Internet doesn’t work and finding out it is full of ants. You’d surely scream like you if were from the Empire of Ants cast. Termites and cicadas also have a creepy interest in fiber optics. Although cicadas don’t eat cables, those little noisy insects have the power for making them stop working by laying their eggs inside the cables, breaking the glass strands in the process, pretty alien right?
It’s usual to see crowds of birds using aerial cables as perches and fear they are going to attack us, thank you very much indeed, Mr. Hitchcock! But the next time you see them, think that their weight can cause optical fiber cables breakages and I bet you are going to be even more scared. Sorry, no Amazon Prime-Halloween-movie night for you!
We hope animals don’t ruin your plans to watch horror movies tonight. Happy Halloween!