World wired

An illustrated birthday cake with the number fifty spelled out with ethernet cables, surrounded by a keyboard, WiFi router, computer monitor, and other ethernet cables.
Illustration by Hugo Herrera for The Verge

Even though so much of our world is now wireless, most of those beautiful signals are still made possible by a worldwide network of hardwired cables — from the huge backbones of internet service providers to the ethernet lines in people’s homes. The cables that connect continents under the ocean alone span a length of more than 700,000 miles. Just 50 years after the invention of ethernet, our planet Earth is now literally wrapped in the embrace of the internet. It’s the cord that can’t be cut.

This special issue from The Verge takes a look at the impact ethernet has had on our world on its 50th birthday. In partnership with the Computer History Museum, we’re reflecting on the origins and consequences of this incredible technology. From…

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