A Different Kind Of Fibre Broadband – Wet String

A Different Kind Of Fibre Broadband – Wet String

In a light-hearted test exercise, a UK ISP has demonstrated a new type of “fibre” based internet connectivity technology – BOWS – Broadband Over Wet String.

Wet string broadband

ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) connectivity technology has a reputation for being quite robust, albeit quite a bit slower compared to more modern technologies. Putting the quip that ADSL will work over a bit of wet string to the test, a tech at UK ISP Andrews & Arnold with some time on his hands decided to give it a whirl – and succeeded.

After hooking up a 2-metre long piece of string soaked in salt water, a download speed of 3.5Mbps was achieved. Upload speed was far slower.

“As a bonus, fit tin cans to both ends and you get voice as well as broadband on the same wet string!,” joked the ISP’s owner, Adrian Kennard. It would certainly be a unique VoIP service.

Mr. Kennard noted the string had to be continually re-wet every 30 minutes or so to avoid a complete loss of sync, and this re-wetting process interfered with signals – as did any touching of the line.

According to the BBC, ADSL technology is used by nearly half of premises in the UK. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures published in September indicated there were around 4.23 million DSL (ADSL is a form of DSL) subscribers in Australia as at June this year.

ADSL2+ M has a maximum speed of 24 Mbps download and 2.5 Mbps upload, but most users wouldn’t experience speeds this high. The speed and reliability of an ADSL connection is governed to a substantial degree by the distance from an exchange. Subscribers that are a couple of kilometres from an exchange will likely notice a very slow and flaky connection.

Mr. Kennard says he has already had a tongue-in-cheek request from a user frustrated by slow ADSL speeds who expressed interest in a wet string connection.

“.. wet string is sadly not a viable product for all involved,” he stated. “I suspect it may be expensive too – as there will need to be an engineer trained in keeping the string damp should the British weather deviate from its usual damp and rainy grimness present unless it’s made a self-service option, but that sounds annoying to be honest.”

Obviously not a good option for Australia.

We hope your connection isn’t as slow as wet string – test your internet speed with Lightning Broadband’s speed test application

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