For all the advances in 5G and fiber communications, the fact still remains the vast majority of the developed world still depends on the wires and cables installed decades ago for its broadband needs. Nothing has done more to fuel the communications revolution of the last century than the twisted copper pair. In the latest edition of the Future Human Podcast, Nokia Bell Labs fixed networks researcher Werner Coomans describes the remarkable resilience of the copper wire and the coaxial cable, and why those two transmission media are here to stay.
At the heart of fixed networks are ever improving digital signal processing techniques, which have increased data speeds over wires from thousands of bits per second to billions upon billions of bits today. Not only is Coomans pushing the limits of what is possible over these copper conduits, his research may eventually transcend the wire itself, allowing for direct acoustic transmission through the naked air. Imagine having a phone conversation without a phone, a headset or an earbud – the signal beamed directly into your ear. To find out more, listen to Future Human episode 23 “Old wires, new tricks” below.
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