For most people, the infrastructure that transfers data across the internet is a little bit of a mystery beyond plugging in and connecting to the wireless router. Most people realise that data can travel along copper wire but what they may not know is that it can also travel along… wet string and at 3.5Mbps. A British internet service provider (ISP), named Andrews and Arnold, managed to send data across wet string but warned it’s not viable.
In a blog post, Adrian Kennard, the ISP’s director posted the following message:
“The upkeep of these wet string connections is very hard; in our tests, we had to continually re-wet the string approximately every 30 minutes to avoid a complete loss of sync, and this process was always disruptive to the signals … at this stage, wet string is sadly not a viable product for all involved … it’s something we did for giggles.”
The engineers conducting the experiment used salty water on the string because salt is a good conductor of electricity. A professor from the University of Surrey said that the saltwater string is not as good a conductor as copper wire but in this scenario, the flow of the current, over around 2 meters, doesn’t matter too much. He said that the string was acting as a waveguide to transmit an electromagnetic wave and because the broadband signal was transmitted at a high frequency it didn’t matter too much which sort of material was used.
While it was certainly an interesting experiment to hear about, your ISP definitely won’t be adopting a bit of soggy string to deliver your connection, simply because it’s too difficult to keep it wet.