A timeline of events in the history of telecommunication provides details of the progression of technology and optimism for what is still to come.
1840 – The telegraph is the first digital electronic communication device. The device sends bits of electricity over a wire that beeps when it reaches the other end. From there, words are translated from the beep, also known as Morse code.
1878 – The telephone is the first analog electronic communication device, allowing human voice to be transmitted in analog form across long distances. Only one signal is allowed at one time.
1892 – The Strowger switch allows for many lines to be connected into a network.
1915 – The first transcontinental phone service is born when New York connects to San Francisco, thanks to a vacuum tube, which allows signals to be amplified.
1925 – Multiple analog signals are allowed to share the same landline connection.
1941 – Analog broadband connections allow for 480 simultaneous calls to share the same line.
1947 – Microwave wireless transmission replaces long-distance wired connections, carrying more signals at a lower cost.
1958 – Digital high-bandwidth T1 lines replace analog broadband lines.
1962 – The world’s first telecommunications device is sent into space.
1965 – Digital T1 lines replace long-distance and local telephone lines.
1969 – The first internet connection is established between Stanford and UCLA.
1974 – The first transmission of voice over an IP network establishes beginning of VoIP.
1983 – Fiber optic telephone line sends voice using digital pulses of light.
1995 – VoIP software is released for use on home computers.
1999 – Cable begins to replace use of analog landline system.
2003 – Skype is released, a popular VoIP software for computers.
2008 – Landline telephone services are severed in favor of mobile phone service.
2014 – Cheap bandwidth increases the quality and functionality of VoIP telecommunications.