How Phones Work

Have you ever wondered how phones work? The invention of the telephone revolutionised the way we communicate with each other. A phone, especially mobile phones have become completely integrated into our daily life. The phone gave us instant access and connection, making the world a smaller place. As technology has evolved, so has the telephone, becoming an everyday item for most people.

The First Phone

The first phone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. The phone was designed with a thin iron bar that rest on a tight parchment drum that vibrated when words were spoken. The bar was in a magnetic field, so when it moved it created an electric current that carried the sounds the caller made down the wire to the person receiving the call. At the other end of the wire, the signal was received by another parchment drum, reversing it and making it sound like a human voice that could be heard and understood by the listener.

Phone(127164)Credit: morguefile

How do Home Phones Work?

A telephone is made up of two key parts, as discussed with the invention of the first phone. The first key part is the mouthpiece that turns you voice into an electric signal that can be sent through the phone wire. The second key part is the earpiece, which turns the electric signal into sounds you can hear and understand.

When you dial a number on your home phone, a signal is sent to the phone network, telling it which phone line you want to be connected to. In the old days the connection used to have to be done by an operator, but now it is all automatic.

The sound you making into the mouthpiece of the phone makes a thin metal diaphragm vibrate, which puts different amounts of pressure on carbon granules that are found in your phone. These vibrations send an electrical signal to the earpiece of the person you have called. A matching diaphragm on their earpiece causes the same vibrations in reverse, allowing them to hear the sound of your voice.

How do Mobile Phones Work?

Mobile phones rely on a network of aerial base towers to connect, dial and receive calls. Without these base towers, a mobile phone wouldn't receive any reception, and therefore would not work. Each mobile phone has an aerial that uses radio waves to connect to one of these network towers. Depending on how close the network tower is will directly affect the strength of the phone connection. Like home phone connection, these towers act as an exchange where the signal is sent to other base stations and other mobile phones.

As you and your mobile phone move around, your connection is re-routed from one network tower to another. If you are driving and talking on your phone, as you move, the connection will jump from tower to tower, taking only microseconds, which won’t cause a pause or break in your conversation. However if you move too far away form a network tower, or are in a rural area where there are limited network towers, your connection signal will become weaker and may drop out completely.

MobileCredit: morguefile

Phone Facts

In 2003, US Presidential candidate Howard Dean created a world record when he held a conference call with 3,466 people.

The first telephone exchange opened in the US in 1878 with just 21 phone lines connected manually by operators. By 1887, there were more than 100,000 phones being used around the globe.

The first mobile phones that were available to buy came out in 1979.

The contry that is ranked number one in the world for sending the most amount of texts is the Philippines. One one day in the Philippines, there are rouhgly 1.4 billion text messages being sent. The Philippines were refered to as the 'texting capital of the world' in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Stuart Hughes iPhone 4 Diamond Rose is the world's most expensive  mobilephone.  It costs a astromoical 5 million pounds (about $7,850,000 dollars), and it is completely covered with about 500 diamonds totaling over 100 carats.  THe back plate on the phone is made out of rose gold, and the Apple logo has been created using 53 diamonds. There is a single cut 7.4 carat pink diamond on top of the home button. There are only two of this type of phone model that have been made. 

According to the Guinness World Records, the  Sonim XP3300 Force is considered the world's toughest phone. It earned its title by surviving after an 25 metre (84 foot) drop on to a layer of concrete without suffering any operational damage, meaning that it still worked. In addition, it can be safely submerged in waste water to a depth of two meters, and can almost bend.