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Wireless was the next major step in telecommunication after the telephone.

Scientists and engineers began to fathom electromagnetic waves and discovered how to manipulate and exploit them so that a physical connection between the sender and the receiver was not necessary.

Information could now be sent across huge global distances or even across space.

   
How wireless works
Wireless works because an electromagnetic wave, passing through the air at the speed of light, can create - or 'induce' - an electrical signal in an aerial....
Electromagnetic spectrum
When scientists first realised that electromagnetic waves could be transmitted through the air, they didn't understand the full extent or impact of what they'd discovered....
Satellites
Although you can communicate over long distances with wireless, there are limits because the Earth's surface is curved and electromagnetic waves may be lost before reaching their intended destination....
Mobile telephones
Mobiles phones have changed our lives since the first ones appeared in 1985. Today's mobile phones are triumphs of miniaturisation - there's nothing else you own that's likely to fit so much technology into such a small package....
fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...