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Amped Up and Ready to Go

Broadband over power lines gets a second wind, but regulatory concerns linger

6 min read

Engineers have been experimenting with using power lines for communications since the 1950s. But broadband over power lines, or what the Europeans prefer to call power line communications, has long been one of those just-around-the-corner technologies that holds a great deal of promise in principle but has never quite taken off.

Still, having witnessed earlier boom-and-bust cycles and continued lobbying by ham radio operators to have the plug pulled on the whole idea, makers of equipment that turns electrical outlets into Internet data ports believe that power line communications is now poised to mount a serious challenge to digital subscriber line, or DSL, and cable Internet services.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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