900+ Megabits Per Second

Old Old “Modem”—Really Just a Transformer

This photo neatly encapsulates the evolution of telecommunications in our old house. The Old-Old “Modem” (Really Just a Transformer) was the original telephone signal device. Located on one of the rafters in the basement this photo contains archeological elements from all of the different sedimentary layers of telecommunication that were ever used here. The transformer converted the telephone’s signal that came from the pole over twisted pair. You can see that this twisted pair line is effectively knob-and-tube wiring, which like dates it back to who knows when? Can anyone say Alexander Graham Bell? Above this transformer in what we call the Central Hallway is a wall nook that we’ve always called the devotional area, but on this little shelf is where I believe the house’s first candlestick style telephone sat. Our house was built in 1937 and the nook looks original. The red inspection sticker is dated 1980, which is when the previous owner bought the house. I suspect that she had the red-yellow-green wires run to what is now the computer room. We used this connection when we bought the house and for some time afterwards.

We eventually bought a computer and endured dialup with its painfully slow data rates. We upgrade it to DSL, still using the old connection, albeit with the addition of special filters (not shown) that allowed the DSL to handle both voice and data service on the same line. Eventually, the DSL was upgraded to the faster U-verse, which is the white cable running across the top of the photo. Today, the black fiber cable, running along the bottom of the picture was installed. All of the obsolete communication means are still down there and will likely remain so, for some future home owner to puzzle over. Much like the basement also holds relics of all of the old methods of home heating. There is the old coal chute door, which was the original home heating method. This cast iron chute door has a hole cut through it, where the heating oil spout still sticks through it and the old oil tank is still in the basement too. We run on gas now, but all of these artifacts from the past still inhabit the basement.

Fiber900 mbps22.5 × Speedup
U-verse40 mbps6.67 × Speedup
DSL~6 mbps107 × Speedup
Dialup0.056 mbps
Internet Speeds (Megabits Per Second)

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