Back in the days before the Facebook and internet were made available, kids at a distance used to communicate using a string and yogurt pots tied at the ends of that string. It turns out that this technique can be used to beam internet and transfer data in today’s world.
Andrews and Arnold, a small British internet service provider have successfully managed to send data over a 2m (6ft 7in) long wet string that had been soaked in salt water. According to the engineer who conducted the experiment, they were able to achieve 3.5 Mbps (megabits per second) of speed while conducting the experiment.
Due to practical limitations, it won’t be sold as a commercial product and it was a mere experiment by the company to see if it is possible or not.
“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. “There is no commercial potential that we are aware of.”
The wet fiber connection would be disrupted even with the slightest change in the environmental condition like a change in the room temperature. And to prevent the loss of signal the string needs to be made wet every 30 minutes, said Adrian Kennard, A&A’s director. The string used for the experiment is put in salt water as salt is a good conductor of electricity.
“Although the wet string is clearly not as good a conductor of electricity as copper wire, it’s not really about the flow of current,” told Prof Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey’s department of physics.
“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 said: “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.”