The internet is inescapable anymore; almost every business has at least one wifi network. There’s almost no place you can go without a signal, barring the untamed wilderness.
The internet is inescapable anymore; almost every business has at least one wifi network. There’s almost no place you can go without a signal, barring the untamed wilderness. With our arsenal of mobile devices and prevalence of wireless connectivity, we’re always connected to the world at large seemingly without cables or wires.
This is convenient, but its an illusion: we don’t necessarily see the wires, but without them, we wouldn’t have internet. Communication via broadcast has limitations. Your standard 2.4GHz wifi broadcast only has a range of about 300 feet without the interference of walls and other obstructions. You have to be close to the router to connect, and the router gets its signal through cables that connect it to the rest of the grid.
Your mobile data connection functions in the same way; the connection between cellphones and towers has a range of up to 45 miles, but tower-to-tower communication happens through cables. So all device-to-device communication that happens through the internet travels through a cable, whether its text messaging, email, or video streaming. There are a few exceptions:
-direct device-to-device connectivity, via Bluetooth or a shared Wifi connection
-if your phone exchanges SMS with a phone that is close enough to be using the same cell tower
-satellite TV or internet, which relies on satellites to be the middle man between broad cast center and your TV or device. This connection is usually expensive and inferior for internet connectivity.
So wireless connections can only bridge the gaps that the grid doesn’t reach, and even in these limited applications, the signal transported though a wire is much more reliable. Still, its a blessing not having to plug in. We don’t even have to see the wires, most of the time
So what does the grid actually look like?
Ironically, all the internet really is a wire. The web can be viewed as one very long wire that splits off into branches, bringing a signal to broadcasting units across the planet. If you trace one wire long enough, eventually you can find a router or tower close enough to (almost) any device to forge a connection and exchange packets of data. Pulses of electricity or photons travel rapidly along these cables, making communication almost instantaneous. These cables are usually buried in the ground. The only cables the consumer typically has to work with are the ones that connect your desktop and wireless router to the modem, and your modem to the wall jack. The wall jack is simply the interface for a dedicated wire that connects your business or home to the grid
Components of the grid
Nowadays, the cables that connect us all to each other are coaxial cable, fiber optics or copper. Like much of our infrastructure, these are buried to keep them our of our way and out of harm’s way. Fiber optics are glass or plastic strands thinner than a human hair. These strands are encased in a cladding that helps to keep the photons inside the cable. Copper cables, naturally, consist of copper strands. These need to be insulated to protect us from the electrical charges they carry, and to isolate these
charges from EMI interference. Coaxial cables also use copper as the signal conductor, but have a different structure.
The cables must interface with homes and businesses, so connectors are used where a connection to the main grid is needed. The signal is carried into the modem inside a business or residence. Desktops and routers connect directly to the modem with data cables. The router then emits a signal in every direction (including up and down) that reaches up to 300 feet.
Who builds the grid?
With the miles and miles of cable in the ground, we can assume that building the grid was expensive. And though the cost of monthly internet service to the consumer is pretty manageable, that’s who ultimately finances the installation of the cables and their components. This opportunity to collect subscription fees as a return on their investment is why providers create and expand the grid.
They seek out contractors like us here at Waeco to design and install the networks of copper and fiber optics cables, bringing internet access to more and more homes and businesses. Demand for greater bandwidth means that more providers and consumers are turning to fiber optics. The grid continues to expand, too, which means more miles of cable going into the ground
When you need copper, coaxial or fiber optics, you can simplify your telecomms projects by turning to one source for both engineering and construction. Waeco’s role in advancing the telecomms grid is to accelerate your projects with a well-oiled turnkey package that aligns every aspect of your project witha well-defined end goal. To discuss your needs and explore how to best approach them with an experienced telecomms engineer, contact us here.