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The historical aspect of wireless communication

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

In the 21’centery we have witnessed an acceleration in speed, in which new wireless devices get released to the masses. With the heavy attention and normalization of new wireless devices, the historical aspect easily becomes long forgotten. However, the term wireless communication goes back to a turnover in centuries and it’s meaning has changed over the past 130 years.

The world's first wireless telephone conversation occurred in 1880 when Alexander Graham Bell(1847-1922) and Charles Sumner Tainter(1854-1940) invented and patented the photophone, the telephone that conducted audio conversations wirelessly over modulated light beams (which are narrow projections of electromagnetic waves).

Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was an Italian inventor and engineer who developed, demonstrated, and marketed the first successful long-distance wireless telegraph system in 1896. The following year Marconi sent the world's first-ever wireless communication over the open sea. The experiment witnessed a message traveled over a distance of 6 kilometers (3.7mi). The radio broadcasting of music and talk intended to reach a dispersed audience started experimentally around 1905–1906, and commercially around 1920 to 1923. Radio broadcasting was the dominant player in wireless communication for the following decades.

The real wireless revolution began in 1979 when the first generation of mobile networks – or 1G, was rolled out in Japan. By 1990 1G had 20 million global subscribers. The second generation of mobile networks, or 2G, was launched under the GSM standard in Finland in 1991 and pushed us into a new world of communication. For the first time, calls could be encrypted and digital voice calls were significantly clearer with less static and background crackling. Since we have moved on to both 3G in 2001, 4G in 2009, and now 5G - which has been in the working since the early 2000s, because developers knew that 3G and even 4G networks wouldn’t be able to support the big network there is need today and in the future's promise of innovations such as remote surgeries, telemedicine, self-driving cars, smart meters, etc.

We have come a long way since the first experiments with wireless communication in the 1800s. The evolution within wireless technologies often talks about its innovations however, it has repeatedly created several layers of electromagnetic frequencies which biologically impact our daily lives.

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