Andrews and Arnold, a British internet provider, have successfully managed to send data over a 2-meter long wet string during the experiments. They were able to achieve a speed of 3.5 megabits per second. It would sound way unusual for regular internet users who are used to hearing the words copper and optical fiber.
A connection of this kind appears to be a fiber connection in a real sense. But, apparently, it won’t be possible for the ISP to sell their experiment as a commercial product due to practical limitations. Moreover, it was a fun experiment. They did it because they wanted to know if such thing is possible or not.
Even the slightest change (for instance, changing the air conditioner temperature) in the environment could disrupt a user’s wet fiber connection.
A&A’s director Adrian Kennard warns in his blog post that the maintenance of such a connection is very hard. The string needs to be re-wet every 30 minutes to prevent a complete loss of signal.
The ISP used salt water for the experiment as it’s a good conductor of electricity. However, University of Surrey’s professor Jim Al-Khalili said that the copper is still a better conductor than the string wet with salt water. But the flow of the current doesn’t matter much here.
The wet string behaved as a waveguide for the transmission of an electromagnetic wave. And because of the high frequency of the broadband signal, the nature of the material isn’t a concern, he told the BBC.
The concept of the wet string is currently not viable, and according to Kennard, it would be too expensive if it ever ends up as a commercial product. Also, an engineer “trained in keeping the string damp” will be required if the British weather “deviates from it’s usual damp and rainy grimness present.” An alternative would be making it a self-service option, “but that sounds annoying, to be honest,” he said.
What do think about this wet string internet experiment? Drop your thoughts in the comments.