Network History

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This post is a placeholder to rubber duck my way into understanding the history of data networking better.

Last Updated: 26 July 2021

  • 2nd centruy BC: phryctoriae are used to convey transmission of specific prearranged messages.
    Aeschylus in the tragedy Agamemnon describe how the message for the fall of Troy arrived at Mycenae with phryctoriae.
    Later complicated with the Polybius square to encode generic data.
    Water vessel based timer used to decode information encoded into visible flame duration 
  • 9th Century: 720 km (450 mi) during the Arab–Byzantine wars, the Byzantine Empire used a semaphore system of beacons to transmit messages from the border with the Abbasid Caliphate across Asia Minor to the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.
  • 1790: First use of the word telegraphy?
  • 1792: Semaphore telegraph invented in France by Claue Chappe
  • 1816: Francis Ronalds demonstrates first practical telegraph
  • 1821: First documented use of light used for long distance communication with the heliotrope
  • 1837: First commercial telegraph
  • 1844: First use of morse corde
  • 1848: Modern Morse code improved with “Hamburg Alphabet”
  • 1869: First use of “Mance Heliograph” at Karachi in British India
  • 1890: US Army demonstrates 2000 mile Heliograph network(1)
  • 1890: Morse used extensively in radiotelegraphy. Voice systems not yet viable.
  • 1899: US Signal Corps History Article from 1899 lists ‘flag, heliograph, electrica signalling by telegraphy or telephony, and war balooning’(1)

    - max one hop distance ~180 miles; between Mount Ellen + Mount Uncompahgre, Colorado
  • 1910: Steamships have ‘Marconi Rooms’
  • 1920: Canadian Fores Protection Manual instructs on use of Heliograph…

Historical Places & Artifacts

  • Museum of Communication in Frankfurt

(1) Greely, Adolphus (August 1899). “The Evolution of the Signal Corps”. Ainslee’s Magazine. IV (1): 17

education, RF, radio, networking