Assessing Resilience in the Global Undersea Cable Infrastructure
Crain, John K.
Alderson, David L.
Carlyle, W. Matthew
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This thesis analyzes the global undersea cable infrastructure as it pertains to international telecommunications. We represent countries, cable landing stations, and undersea cables using a network structure of nodes and edges that closely imitates the real-world system. For a given geographic region, we connect individual networks associated with stand-alone cable systems to create one large network model. We use a gravity model to estimate the traffic demand between each pair of countries based on the number of Internet hosts in each country. We formulate and solve an Attacker-Defender (AD) model to identify the worst-case disruptions, where a worst-case disruption corresponds to the greatest shortage in telecommunications traffic even after the system has rebalanced flows as best as possible. Using public sources of data, we collect information about more than 220 real cable systems, and we develop a customized decision support tool that facilitates the analysis of different combinations of countries and cable systems. We demonstrate our modeling technique with an analysis of the undersea cable infrastructure connecting Europe and India. Our analysis provides insight into which components in the system are most vulnerable along with how effectively the system performs in the face of disruptions.
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