Undersea lightwave systems represent a fascinating and challenging application of photonics engineering. Economy, transmission quality and long-term reliability are the hallmarks of these new systems. The optical fiber medium offers very high channel capacity for voice and all other digitally encoded signals. The high capacity results in low cost per channel. Concerning transmission quality, today digital transmission on undersea cables carries signals halfway round the world with quiet, virtually error - free performance. Furthermore, the short, direct path of the undersea route minimizes signal delay, making a significant contribution to customer satisfaction with voice, data, video conferencing, and other interactive services. We needed to achieve these important advances in economy and quality of transmission, and yet deliver systems with the traditional 25 year life and high reliability. This was the dilemma, to achieve extraordinarily high reliability with technologies which lacked extensive high-reliability background. Redundancy in several forms allowed us to introduce this advanced technology with high confidence of meeting the goal of 25 years of reliable system service. Following some historical notes on undersea cables, we describe the forms and levels of redundancy used in AT&T's SL Undersea cable systems. We then indicate how redundancy was implemented and it's impact on system reliability. Finally, we do a bit of crystal gazing concerning redundancy and reliability in the rapidly evolving optical undersea cable network.