Connectivity has been an integral part of humankind. It allows humans to be in touch with each other and it has evolved tremendously over 200000 years (modern humans originated 200000 years ago). It is a way through which humans establish a bond with each other.
The first means of establishing connection dates back 4000 years ago when humans developed their first communication with the discovery of smoke signals and then approximately 2500 years ago, they discovered drums. Surprisingly, communication technology did not change at all for the next 2300 years. It was then in 1835 when Samuel Morse invented the telegraph. This set the stage for the greatest period in the history of technological development, and it dramatically transformed the lives of people. Telegraph was a clear predecessor to the Internet and telegram was an early iteration of email. Then came the telephone in 1876 (which was patented by Alexander Graham Bell as many claimed to have invented it). This allowed humans to talk directly over great distances as if they were in the same room. Fast forward almost 100 years later, in 1979 mobile phone technology came into existence starting with car phones and has continuously evolved to the extent that now they are considered an essential part of human lives. In 1994, the Internet was introduced to the public and it has been regarded as the greatest leap in communication technology. It enabled a whole new era through the instantaneous transmission of data, documents, voice, and still and moving images. It created an authentic torrent of technology that provided the humans with text messaging, email, web, and an array of applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and so on. These have changed how humans interact with each other.
The internet itself has gone through several iterations. To make wireless data transmission possible cellular networks needed to be developed and it all started in Japan in 1979, with the introduction of the first-generation cellular network which is known as 1G. It involved the use of towers to broadcast radio wave frequencies to the cars and transferring the data in analog. At its best 1G could transfer 2.4 kbps. Then came 2G which ushered in a new era of mobile phones with the introduction of a fully digital system. It paved the way for a new form of communication, i.e., text speak. This was a language that was designed to keep the users within a 160-character limit. When 2G was introduced, it could achieve speeds of 9.6 kilobits per second. This era lasted right up to the launch of the first iPhone and speeds had increased to 200 kbps. By this time 3G had become a hot topic as it introduced additional frequency bands. This allowed humans to carry more data. 3G had peak speeds of 42 Mbps (also referred to as 3.5G). 4G was a game-changer as it introduced those frequency bands which were previously used for analog TV broadcasts. It enabled mankind to stream Full HD content on their phones without a wired connection is something is incredible. But it also has its limitations, like, the number of devices which can be connected in an area of 1 km is 10000 when many people use the network at the same time, there is network congestion. To counter this, a new generation i.e., 5G has been introduced and is the latest technology right now. 5G is different because it is aimed at beamforming instead of broadcasting. This combined with higher frequency waves means that it can reach speeds of 10 Gbps.
And the progression did not stop there. It is going even further ahead with the emergence of so-called new-age technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Virtual Reality is a type of technology wherein a consumer blends with a world that is not real. He interacts with the virtual elements (by making movements) to gain a better understanding of how he would fare in the real world. Augmented Reality is different from virtual reality as the elements are projected in the real world via smartphone or tablet (they scan the environment and then the elements are projected onto the screen). The above-mentioned technologies will play a significant role in the future when it comes to organizing office meetings as the cost of physically holding a meeting would be eliminated and only a one-time cost would be incurred, i.e., providing the headsets to the employees of the organization. This will provide for an experience which almost the same as the real world.
5G is extremely crucial for AR and VR. And from 2019 onwards, work began for 6G which is 8000 times faster than 5G and can reach speeds of 1 Tbps.
Apart from this, a new concept by the name of the Internet of Things has also come into the picture. It is a system through which billions of devices are connected to the internet, all of them collecting and sharing data. Examples of IoT include a lightbulb that can be turned on or off using a smartphone, a smart thermostat in offices, connected streetlights, and so on. IoT aims to help build a smart city wherein all devices will be connected and thereby establishing a seamless communication network. For instance, cars moving on the road will be in constant touch with each other and can prove to be quite useful in case a dangerous situation unfolds.
To conclude connectivity has come a long way from smoke signals to 5G. This can be attributed to the exponential growth of technology from the late 20th century to the 21st century. Now the possibilities seem endless. And yet this is only the beginning of what is about to come.