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World wired

On ethernet’s 50th anniversary, we’re taking a look at how wiring the entire planet has changed the future forever.

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 LAN parties to Facebook and every other modern platform that now pervades our society, none of it would have been possible without the invention of the one port that rules them all.

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

The fight for net neutrality is forever

A history of metaphors for the internet

How to hardwire your home without ethernet in the walls

Congress called Huawei a national security risk — it’s still in US networks

Plugged in and logged on: a history of the internet on film and TV

Why 2.4GHz Wi-Fi is both the savior and the scourge of the smart home

We’ll always have Mario Kart: the short-lived joy of console LAN parties

Our walled gardens

Node by Node