This Guy Used a Wet String to Get His Own Internet Connection
Net neutrality is no more in the United States, which means millions of Americans are already scrambling for ways to abandon their internet service providers (ISPs) for cheaper alternatives to internet usage. However, ISPs are costly to replace and can take far too long to install. The answer could be found 'across the pond.'
One network technician from the United Kingdom developed a way to get internet simply by using wet string.
There's a joke that you can run an Internet Protocol over literally anything, including two tin cans and a piece of wet string. Well, that's exactly what Adrian Kennard did. Kennard operates an ISP called Andrews & Arnold. One of his colleagues made the discovery after taking the joke quite literally.
"To be honest it was a bit of fun, which one of our techies decided to try out - we have equipment we could test in the office, and why not?" Adrian Kennard, the internet provider's director, told the BBC.
The A&A technician decided to attempt one of the most common connections called an asymmetric digital subscriber line. ADSLs are the ones that connect computers to the internet via phone lines. The tech soaked 6 feet of twine in salt water (as the salt carries more conductivity than fresh water) and then established a connection via alligator clips.
The connection established was far from fast at just 3.5 Mbps. The average internet connection in the United States is roughly 26 Mbps. However, for a piece of string, that's a pretty impressive speed.
And while Kennard pointed out that there's no "commercial potential," the successful experiment does prove a point regarding the technology of ISPs and the internet.
"What it does show, though, is how adaptive ADSL really is. This can be important when it comes to faulty lines with bad (or even disconnected) joints still providing some level of broadband service."
Professor Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey's department of physics explained how it worked: "Although wet string is clearly not as good a conductor of electricity as copper wire, it's not really about the flow of current.
"Here the string is acting as a waveguide to transmit an electromagnetic wave. And because the broadband signal in this case is very high frequency it doesn't matter so much what the material is."
Matthew Howett, principal analyst at research firm Assembly told the BBC in an interview, "While we often get tied up in knots over whether it should be fibre to the street cabinet or fibre all the way to the home, one thing's for certain and that's that this isn't going to make it into the mix of technologies companies like Openreach or Virgin Media will be using."
This is also not the first time people have looked towards for interesting materials to connect to the internet. Over 20 years ago, a university team established a 100 Mbps connection using just four pairs of old, rusty barbed wire.
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