Optical wires
View of optical fiber connections at the company Ekinops, a provider of next-generation optical transport solutions for service providers and private networks, in Lannion on August 26, 2013. AFP PHOTO/FRED TANNEAU (Photo credit should read FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images) FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

How does the internet get to us?

The internet can seem vast and intangible but there’s a very physical system of cables, servers and exchange points across the globe (and yes, even under the oceans). In this episode, we find out how a video shows up nearly instantly on our screens and about insanely thin, clear glass tubes are the key to our digital communication.

• Explore a cool interactive map of the cables that crisscross the globe under the ocean made by Nicole Starosielski.

• See a map of all the submarine cables here.

Fiber optic cable
ERDF (Electricity Network Distribution France) and Louis Dreyfus company install an electric submarine cable and optical fiber between Quiberon and Belle-Ile-en-mer, western France, on March 11, 2015. The underwatered power line of 15km is installed by ERDF to connect the Brittany island of Belle-Ile-en-mer inhabited by 5000 people. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images

Cable Laying
Workers laying submarine telegraph cable between England and France. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Watch: Journalist Andrew Blum talks about the physical infrastructure of the internet: