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Internet evolution. From satellites to lasers and back in thirty years


Like many things in our lives, the Internet came about thanks to the military. Back in the 60s, the first developments of the network appeared, allowing you to instantly transfer information, however, not yet memes – on the “doomsday" clock it was five minutes to the end of all living things, and therefore it was important to find an opportunity to transmit the order for a counterattack in case the usual the enemy will be able to destroy radio communications.

At first there was an unpleasant sound

It turned out that by the mid-90s the whole world was already entangled in a global network, though a telephone one, and therefore there was no easier solution than to take the existing technical channels at that time. Dial-Up is a technology that allows you to access the world wide web using a conventional telephone network and a modem. It was used everywhere, but not for long, because it had a number of disadvantages:

– The inability to simultaneously use a landline phone and surf the Internet, and at the moment when an attempt was made to make a call, it poured over the caller with a terrible sound, which even now is used as a meme

– Bandwidth left much to be desired, on average, not exceeding 30 kbps.

– There was no unlimited Internet then, and to access the network you needed special cards with a login and password, and they were obscenely expensive, sometimes it was cheaper to buy a pirated disc on the market with the content you were interested in.

Over time, Dial-Up was pumped over, developing ADSL technology, which significantly increased the speed (up to 24 Mbps) and thereby allowed “real-time traffic” to be transmitted on the network – audio and video calls.

Cable to every apartment

The same Ethernet cable or "twisted pair" cable, which by the middle of the 2000s had entangled large cities with disorderly local networks, and especially enterprising people undertook to unravel these tangles, administer and maintain them. The maximum speed on a 5E standard cable is 100 Mbps, and for sure this is the cable you have at home, and for those who are thirsty for speed, there is a 6A standard that allows transmission up to 1 Gbps.

It was thanks to Ethernet technology that it became possible to create an unlimited tariff familiar to us, however, the contract most often states the fact that the speed promised to you within this tariff will work within the networks of your country (traffic to other countries is quite expensive), and especially running cases – within the provider’s network.

Internet evolution. From satellites to lasers and back in thirty years

Despite all the advantages of twisted pair, this method of data transmission has one significant disadvantage: the range of data transmission over the wire is only 100-150 meters, and then the electrical pulse fades. It turns out that in order to “reach out” to a settlement remote from the city, you will have to install a device every hundred meters that will transmit the signal further. But it still needs to be protected from rain and vandals, not to mention providing a thousand such devices with constant power.

Radio, mine radio internet

For a long time it was the only salvation for the inhabitants of the villages and the private sector in the cities. It works in an elementary way: we put the base station together with the antenna somewhere on a hill, we put the same antenna for each subscriber, pointing it at the “base”, and we cut the loot on the unfortunate people. Why the unfortunate?

– Extremely limited base station resource. This applies to both the incoming speed and the number of users per station. As a result, we have a connection at a speed of 10 mb / s at four in the morning on the first Monday of each month, provided that the year is leap year. And so, usually, even lower.

– Demanding to good weather conditions. On a foggy or snowy day, you have to wait twenty minutes for the video to load at least a little, all because of the crazy packet loss in the process of exchanging traffic with the base station.

Optical internet

More precisely, PON (passive optical network) – it is not in vain that it has such a name. This is because between the provider side and the subscriber side there is only an optical cable and accessories from it and for it. Inside the cable there is a thin glass thread called a fiber, inside of which there are many small mirrors, through which the signal is reflected in the form of a light pulse, striving for its destination. The beam of light does not fade for a long time, which allows you to cover distances of up to twenty kilometers at a speed that is limited only by the imagination and resources of the provider.

True, it cannot be said that PON has become a saving pill only for the unfortunate owners of Internet radio, because recently the price per kilogram of copper has risen sharply, which means that the Ethernet cable, hanging so temptingly in the entrance, has become increasingly a victim of vandals.

You are here

Among providers, there is only talk about StarLink. Everyone is talking about how damn cool it is to watch the little dark satellite melt over the horizon. Some providers are seriously thinking about selling their business, but, alas, so far the prospects for satellite Internet leave much to be desired:

Scale, namely the ability to supply all corners of our Earth with repeaters necessary for data transmission;

The price of services, namely $ 499 per plate and $ 99 per month, which is just a crazy amount to compete with the classic Internet;

The price of the project itself. It is planned to launch 12 thousand satellites into orbit, one Falcon rocket can only accommodate 60 pieces. It turns out that just for the full launch of the project, 200 missiles at a cost of $62 million apiece are needed.

The prospect of turning the Milky Way into a garbage dump. As mentioned above, it is planned to launch about twelve thousand satellites, the service life of which is 2 years (by the way, since the satellites have to be updated, this increases the cost of the project even more), after which they will go out of orbit and burn up in the atmosphere, but a fraction of the satellites will fail part of the engine intended for the “death rattle”, and therefore approximately 2% of all satellites remain hanging in orbit, turning into space debris. Two percent of twelve thousand is about two hundred and forty objects that will spoil the life of astronomers, and this is not to mention the fact that in the future the satellites will have to be replaced with new ones, which increases the amount of garbage in an arithmetic progression.

The Internet, the thing that allows us to be free, gives us the opportunity to express ourselves, as well as the opportunity to earn money from home, in slippers and a bathrobe. And, even though most often the changes go unnoticed for us or seem insignificant, the global network is our Matrix and every change in the system changes us.

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