Tap to unmute

How Cell Service Actually Works

  • Published on Jan 25, 2022
  • Sign up for a CuriosityStream subscription and also get a free Nebula subscription (the streaming platform built by creators) here: CuriosityStream.com/wendover
    Watch Extremities at ru-clip.com/user/extremities
    Buy a Wendover Productions t-shirt: standard.tv/collections/wendo...
    Subscribe to Half as Interesting (The other channel from Wendover Productions): ru-clip.com/user/halfasinteres...
    RU-clip: www.RU-clip.com/WendoverProduc...
    Instagram: sam.from.wendover
    Twitter: WendoverPro
    Sponsorship Enquiries: wendover@standard.tv
    Other emails: sam@wendover.productions
    Reddit: Reddit.com/r/WendoverProductions
    Writing by Sam Denby
    Editing by Alexander Williard
    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther
    Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster
    [1] academo.org/demos/wavelength-...
    [2] www.tutorialspoint.com/digita...
    [3] www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfSWO...
    [4] wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/dat...
    Select footage courtesy Getty and AP; Select imagery courtesy Geolayers; Select music courtesy Epidemic sound

Comments • 2 143

  • FoggyJeff
    FoggyJeff 4 months ago +4558

    I've done communication engineering courses, the amount of background requireded to understand how this stuff works is crazy. The fact that you managed to provide a Layman's explanation for such an advanced topic is very impressive. No Fourier transforms or complicated math, well done.

    • KRY MauL
      KRY MauL 4 days ago

      @PrettyCoolCat It’s just elementary linear algebra. I pass it, and linear algebra is an introduction to upper level math course.

    • PrettyCoolCat
      PrettyCoolCat 4 days ago

      @KRY MauL dude you have to be a genius to be on the edge of any field. You’re making a gross understatement in saying advancing cellular technology is anything but insane. The brink of any engineering field is insane

    • Troy Mazzatti
      Troy Mazzatti 17 days ago


    • Got Seoul?
      Got Seoul? Month ago

      Sounds like you wasted money on tuition costs 🤔

    • chernoboog
      chernoboog Month ago

      Honestly, I kind of expected something about Fourier transforms

  • Ryan B
    Ryan B 4 months ago +918

    As an EE who specializes in RF for the last 20 years, thank you for this video! Well put, and not too complex. To me, even now, CDMA is black magic. I get how it works, and have even written baseband code for it, but it just still seems like it shouldn't work. Now we're multiplexing signals over codes, freqs, amplitudes, phases, etc, over multiple spatial streams all at once. I really think the average person doesn't get how unbelievable the physics is when they use LTE or WiFi 6 to do something basic. 1024 QAM should just not be a thing.... and yet it is.

    • Wrulol
      Wrulol 7 days ago

      @User 2C47
      Some countries ISP's have Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) which is IP based.
      But afaik text is still all on the older UMTS

    • Mateo
      Mateo Month ago +1

      i work on this stuff and i can't believe the genius of the people who conceive of and develop this stuff. QAM is super interesting for anyone who like that, there's a great vid on yt

    • Chris Vatalaro
      Chris Vatalaro Month ago +1

      @dolamyte Also microwave EE here, glad to hear there are others out there who understand

    • Siana Gearz
      Siana Gearz 2 months ago +2

      My brain stops at about 16 QAM.

  • Philsfreshfudge
    Philsfreshfudge 4 months ago +185

    As someone who deals with this for a living, you really did a great job at explaining it.

    • Michael Kawwa
      Michael Kawwa 3 months ago +9

      Just out of curiosity, what’s your job?

  • stenobro
    stenobro 3 months ago +167

    I work on cell towers, just like the guys you see in this video. We don't need to know all this stuff for the job , but it's good to know. It's too bad that there isn't footage of the small buildings (shelters) that accompany cell towers. They are quite complex with all the wires and hardware inside, along with the great deal of cabling that each cell tower has.
    This is one of the greatly underappreciated jobs in our modern society. The guys don't get paid enough for the benefit that each user receives every day. Imagine the coldest and hottest days of the year for you and spending 6+ hours a day outside doing physical work. The wind speed multiplies with every small increase in elevation as well.

    • andrephx90
      andrephx90 2 months ago +7

      I work for Ericsson and feel your pain. Well, I´m seated in an office handling the logistics of all those cables and units that need to be replaced on those shelters but I don´t think I would trade places! Had calls where you could just sense how cold/hot was on the place the field engineer was. Heard stories of many being attacked by animals when trying to reach a site. And let´s not even talk when an emergency request/alarm disappears when a field engineer gets to the site OR replaces the unit and it can either NOT be that unit that has to be replace or a Dead On Arrival happens... And just a few weeks ago had the pleasure of watching the replacement of two HUGE units in a tower (5G shenanigans) and those guys...much, much respect!

    • EpicKaiserTom
      EpicKaiserTom 3 months ago +4

      @Roderick Williams Not enough. Generally around $17-18/hour starting depending on area. Mid-level/average salary is around $23-24/hour. If you climb the really big backbone towers on the mountains, with weather involved, you'll generally make a lot more especially with hazard pay involved on those. But those aren't towers for "cell technicians" usually.

    • stenobro
      stenobro 3 months ago +10

      @Roderick Williams similar to construction jobs, maybe a little more, but much less than skilled trades. It's pretty ridiculous that some trades make more when there are fewer people who want to do tower rigging, and it's not dumb work.

    • Roderick Williams
      Roderick Williams 3 months ago +5

      How much does a cell tower technician make

  • dammtri
    dammtri 3 months ago +280

    I watched several sections of this video repeatedly so I could understand what was being explained. It was like attending a Telecommunications Engineering Lecture but with a super interesting professor who had amazing visual aids to explain concepts and and you could ask him to repeat what he said multiple times until you got it. This is the way learning should be. I knew parts of this earlier but never has anyone explained so clearly everything starting from scratch. Thank you so much. More people need to watch this.

    • 1 million subs without a video challenge
      1 million subs without a video challenge 3 months ago +3

      Just image how good the "education" will be in 100 years when we can just get this type of video for literally EVERY topic.

    • Patrick Cooper
      Patrick Cooper 3 months ago +2

      Hey at least you didn’t trash teachers lmao, so many just go into the comments saying why can’t you be my professor in x class and just teach this because my current professor sucks and is boring. There’s no comparison this is a guy (presumably with a team) who puts out less than some single class sessions worth of material a month on whatever the hell he chooses and most importantly for entertainment not just education. And it’s also a video you specifically chose to watch because you have some interest in it. It’s not weird at all this is way more fun than class it has a million advantages

    • Mo Poppins
      Mo Poppins 3 months ago +8

      I _so_ agree with you, having gone to school in the Dark Ages of the pre-Internet era, where instructors would ask you to hold your questions till the end, which isn’t helpful if you can then no longer understand anything that follows what you already needed an explanation for. 🙄
      RU-clip is my favorite learning platform! 💕 🎁 Podcasts are second, since they don’t have the visual aspect, which is sometimes necessary or helpful.

  • Red Hiding Hood
    Red Hiding Hood 4 months ago +5386

    This video single-handedly filled a huge gap in my knowledge about everyday things. Thank you

    • Speed
      Speed 14 days ago

      I'm glad this was able to teach you and probably others.

    • YTIs FullOfFreaks
      YTIs FullOfFreaks 3 months ago

      Dammm, This is 40+ year old knowledge lol

    • MysticalKO
      MysticalKO 3 months ago

      @Escritorez what?

    • Escritorez
      Escritorez 3 months ago

      @Brian Hale k

  • androidaleccc
    androidaleccc 4 months ago +98

    Whoever does the writing for these episodes consistently impresses me with how thorougly they actually research/comprehend the video topics. The videos on air traffic/planes seem like they could only come from a professional in the industry, even this one has that same feeling.

  • Brian Bailey
    Brian Bailey 3 months ago +51

    As an electrical engineer, I remember learning all of this in my Communications class, but it literally all flew over my head. But Sam was able to get it understandable in less than 15 mins is astounding

    • wat
      wat Month ago

      Its not a single guy, they're a team

    • Northern Signal
      Northern Signal Month ago +1

      Electrical Engineering gang

  • James Mifsud
    James Mifsud 4 months ago +47

    I’m a radio frequency technician, with a specialisation in LTE; the was this was explained was amazingly simple and very accurate.
    I’m totally going to share this with people who I’m trying to explain cellular standards

  • Jkjkjk
    Jkjkjk 3 months ago +53

    Reminded me of a lot of statistics we had to do in school around the topic… Some of the topics he discussed in case you’re interested:
    AM - Amplitude Modulation
    FM - Frequency Modulation
    PSK - Phase Shift Keying
    BPSK - Binary Phase Shift Keying
    QPSK - Quadrature Phase Shift Keying
    QAM - Quadratic Amplitude Modulation
    8PSK, 16PSK, constellation diagram
    TDD - Time domain duplex
    OFDM - orthogonal frequency division multiplexing
    CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access
    SNR - Signal Noise Ratio
    BER - Bit error rate

    • Richard Bloemenkamp
      Richard Bloemenkamp 2 months ago

      So many of us had to learn it but only very few still use it. Me too I learned this stuff but fortunately I recognized soon enough that it is the same a learning screw heads. Note that knowing screw heads is more useful in day to day life. On telecommunication protocols, the essential stuff was done by Claude Shannon with his work on channel capacity as a function of SNR of the channel. The rest are just different choices based on SNR over the usable bandwidth and historic development. None of this stuff actually manages to increase beyonds Shannons limits but, of course, our SNR has become better with smaller cells and with the increase of computing and processing power we can more optimally use the full bandwidth optimally even if the SNR is strongly varying over the bandwidth or fluctuating in time.

    • vbddfy euuyt
      vbddfy euuyt 3 months ago +3

      Yeah. This is a masterpiece. I’ve been designing cell networks since 1997, so this is second nature to me, but I’ve never seen such an non-intimidating explanation of things

    • vbddfy euuyt
      vbddfy euuyt 3 months ago +1

      right there.

  • Evan Belcher
    Evan Belcher 4 months ago +2291

    I keep expecting the Half As Interesting guy to make a terrible joke but he's actually just really helpful over here

    • No Name
      No Name 3 months ago +1

      i argee. the jokes ruin that channels content

    • Brian Hale
      Brian Hale 4 months ago

      Good luck with all of that...
      I believe what the Bible says.

    • Psittac20
      Psittac20 4 months ago +1

      @Brian Hale I agree fully with everything you said. But why post that here? I understand that maybe one person will read it and find it important.... but to the rest of the world you're spouting nonsense where it doesn't belong. Again, I know exactly what you're saying but how does it apply? In 2020 I looked into Islam and learned that they call Jesus a prophet, which would be considered a downgrade to any Christian, however I think that ignores the significance of what they call a prophet. They claim that Jesus could speak as an infant and was performing miracles at a very young age. They do everything But say he is the son of god, they also consider Mother Mary a prophet. It is possible to raise extraordinary individuals beyond this plane of existence without tearing down others over specifics. I heard a Muslim say that god knows every man and goes to him or her in any capacity that he can. To me that means that if someone doesn't know or understand the true power of the name of Jesus..... He/She is Not condemned forever, rather they have the father of all creation next to them wanting them to live an eternity in peace. Isn't that Jesus anyways? A/The god that is humble and only wanting salvation? Jesus doesn't care that you know his name, indeed he put his name out there for those who are called to his name to repent and live a life of grace. However those who are not familiar with that name...... they are not lost rather they are loved. I believe in a god that will show up even if you open a dictionary looking for him. He cares not what you call him rather he is the god of unending love and compassion.

    • sirBrouwer
      sirBrouwer 4 months ago +1

      @that_G_EvanP not according to Sam from HAI

  • meteoro300
    meteoro300 3 months ago +49

    I have been in the wireless communication field for over 20 years. I have seen the growth and change. Brought many memories when i started working on analog networks, IS-136, GSM, CDMA. Very well done!! You managed to explain very complex processes in a manner an average person can understand. Mobility, how the phone switches from one cell to the other, is the next hurdle. But overall great video. Congratulations.

    • decidiousrex
      decidiousrex 3 months ago +3

      My dad worked in telecom for over 20 years with Motorola and Bell Labs. He passed away in 07, when I was in middle school, and ever since I've wished I knew more about what he did. He had a master's degree in computer science, and I always wondered how that was applicable to telecom. I did not realize at all how complex and fascinating this field truly was and is, and I have a new found respect for my old man and people such as yourself who continue to provide the rest of us with services we often take for granted.

    • seeni gzty
      seeni gzty 3 months ago

      right there.

  • Pranav Pai
    Pranav Pai 3 months ago +24

    Brilliant. The communication engineering courses we went through broke our spirits on complex polynomials and transforms. To see TDMA QAM and CDMA explained so clearly was mind blowing!

  • Matt Popovich
    Matt Popovich 2 months ago +2

    I just bought CuriosityStream specifically to watch your "The Colorado Problem". As someone who has lived in Colorado for the last 3 years, I had no idea how interesting the task of "getting everyone water" in the state (and southwestern part of the country) could be. Happy to support you and the others that spend their time educating us. Thank you!

  • B V
    B V 4 months ago +6

    “This is where it gets complicated.” Safe to say for me it got complicated well before that point. Great video.

  • Bert Holtappels
    Bert Holtappels 4 months ago +1136

    Yeah. This is a masterpiece. I’ve been designing cell networks since 1997, so this is second nature to me, but I’ve never seen such an non-intimidating explanation of things like QAM and CDMA. Like 100% of all books whack you over the head with matrix transformations or polynomials on page 1, and they lose all but the most determined learners right there.

    • Albert F. Cowsky III
      Albert F. Cowsky III 3 months ago

      @Don Cooper, Jr Thank you. That is correct. I don't insult people. I'll argue, but not insult. And even though it is rusty, I did study some German and I have a large collection of German metal and punk music.

    • Mateo Sanchez
      Mateo Sanchez 3 months ago

      He has such a great talent in making complex ideas into simple ones

    • Snapper314
      Snapper314 3 months ago

      Agreed. I've worked as a Cellular Network Technician and then an Engineer for over 2 decades. And this video should be great to show those unfamiliar with these aspect what current smartphones utilize to communicate. I love that he even almost got into talking about the Walsh Codes.

    • Don Cooper, Jr
      Don Cooper, Jr 3 months ago +3

      @Rory Chivers , I don't think albert was meaning to be insulting. Maybe assumptive, but no insulting.

    • Rory Chivers
      Rory Chivers 3 months ago +1

      @Albert F. Cowsky III Jah, tut mir leid aber ich verstehe kein wort, ich bin ein schwachkopf und habe kein hoffnug mitmachen zu koennen, deshalb bleib ich zuhause mit meine Puppen, aber danke fur's eklaerung, mate

  • Nathan Wilson
    Nathan Wilson 3 months ago +8

    This was very fascinating. As a teacher, I may use this video in a lesson plan sometime lol. Thank you.
    Stay well out there everybody, and God bless you friends! :)

  • Kenny Ray
    Kenny Ray 3 months ago +10

    I can’t believe how well put together this information is! The only thing I wish would have been included is how many users are actually packed in per channel these days. It seems like the end part was not nearly as detailed as some of the previous sections. And for me that’s the most fascinating part . Thank you for providing such an amazing documentary! 💯

  • Davi Andraski Braga
    Davi Andraski Braga 3 months ago +4

    That’s an incredible education video and the amount of work required to make must have been insane! Well done, Sam from Wendover!

  • Zaptosis
    Zaptosis 4 months ago +8

    This is one of your best videos ever created, I've always been fascinated by cell phones & how they operate. This was the best produced video that went into a section of understanding I didn't even consider thinking about, the protocol. 10/10 content!

  • skelico
    skelico 4 months ago +971

    my dad told me that when he dropped out of school in the 70s, his dad asked him what he wanted to do with his life-- and he told him "i wanna know how they take a signal out of the sky and turn it into something you can see or hear" .. he ended up becoming a tech that specialized in repairing antique radios and he was heavily into tinkering with new electronics as they came out, his room was covered in antennas and oscilloscopes, and he was always very excited to share any stories he had about broadcasting and loved finding out stuff like this
    he passed about a year ago but i'm very sure he would have loved this video, great stuff

    • Benji Rush
      Benji Rush 3 months ago

      @Justin Smith negotiation

    • L'sActive 800
      L'sActive 800 3 months ago +4

      Beautiful story! He sounds like a genius

    • Panos Papadopoulos
      Panos Papadopoulos 3 months ago +4

      Sounds like a great person, respect. Thank you for sharing your story and good luck!

    • GeoffJop0908
      GeoffJop0908 3 months ago +5

      Big respect to your father, he was very passionate

    • Justin Smith
      Justin Smith 3 months ago +19

      Your dad sounded an awesome guy man 👏

  • Abel Mathew
    Abel Mathew 3 months ago +9

    More things need to be explained A - Z like this video. This was so good. This was like explaining how our bodies work by starting with the first microorganism from billions of years ago.

  • VAM! Physics & Engineering

    this was incredibly well done. Great job!

  • Leo Brooks
    Leo Brooks 4 months ago +1

    I’ve watched and loved you for many years. Been here since the beginning. This may just be the best video you’ve ever made. Spot on info, hyper simplified, and perfectly explained. This is amazing. You and team are amazing. Wow

  • Joao Vitor Peloso
    Joao Vitor Peloso 4 months ago +1

    I think this is the best video I’ve watched recently, you make complicated subjects so understandable! And the Paris metro at the end was the icing on the cake hahah 💕

  • Lloyd Arsen Balbas
    Lloyd Arsen Balbas 3 months ago +1

    The way the video evolved from the very basics, easing things up until it reached the very complex concept of CMDA is just genius and very engaging! Kudos to the team for a job well done. Probably one of the best explainers I've seen.

  • Gergely Hornich
    Gergely Hornich 4 months ago +1

    I rarely comment, but this was your best video so far! Really interesting and difficult topic, yet you've managed to keep it simple (but not too simple)!

  • Olaf Creed
    Olaf Creed 3 months ago +1

    You are absolutely an amazing teacher, illustrator, storyteller, and information gatherer.
    Thank you person or persons behind Wendover Productions.

  • linda pastori
    linda pastori 4 months ago +1

    Impressive video! Having worked on 5G in the telecom industry recently (backend, not radio) the amount of data the teams working on radio figured out how to send seemed like magic. After this video it doesn't, bravo!

  • Jan Kühnemund
    Jan Kühnemund 4 months ago +761

    You packaged a hugely complex object into an understandable format without using formulas. That's very impressive.

    • SyNc Life!
      SyNc Life! 4 months ago +5

      I literally forgot my tea watching this video.

  • JV
    JV 4 months ago +1

    Currently as I'm taking this unit engineering I'm surprised how well Wendower explained some of the stuff in much more understandable way. Hope those anti-5g cuhns can learn more knowledge in these kind of stuffs

    RONAN FRIEL 4 months ago +4

    This is one of the most well made, well explained videos I’ve ever seen. Keep ‘em coming Mr. Dover

  • Kiril Boyanov
    Kiril Boyanov 3 months ago

    Such an amazing technology and to think we all take it for granted! Thank you for a very easy to understand explanation.

  • Samuel Mathes
    Samuel Mathes 3 months ago +1

    That is by far the best explanation that I ever saw about this topic! Although I studied Computer Science it was never explained that good. I really appreciate it!

  • bbr
    bbr 4 months ago +508

    This is one of those video’s where the transition between “duh, this is basic stuff” and “wow this stuff’s incredible” happens without me noticing. Keep up the great work!

    • Cuddles
      Cuddles 3 months ago

      then the forced humor and skits showed up every few minutes...

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin
      Vigilant Cosmic Penguin 4 months ago +13

      It's a good way to communicate things. Make sure people know A, then gradually move on to B.

  • Cristian Rodriguez
    Cristian Rodriguez 4 months ago +1

    That was a excellent explanation for layman! great example on how to pack a library of mind-bendingly complicated math&physics on a 15 minute video!

  • Sayyam Khurana
    Sayyam Khurana 3 months ago +2

    One of the best Wendover videos honestly! A little sad that you didn't cover the spat between airlines and cell companies in US

  • Ben M
    Ben M 3 months ago

    I would really love to see more physics/tech related videos from you. Love this a lot.

  • sarang dondal
    sarang dondal 4 months ago +1

    While watching the video, I realised that how much intense work is dond by the team. I am really grateful to the wendover team for giving such enlightened Content for free!☺️

  • Daniel del Pozo Sánchez
    Daniel del Pozo Sánchez 4 months ago +896

    As a Telecommunications engineer graduate, I wish I had seen this video a few years ago. Really helpful and well explained information

    • roy k
      roy k 3 months ago +1

      same, need this video years ago. i dropped out the telecom because i couldnt handle the math and complex thinking that come with it

    • los vega
      los vega 4 months ago +1

      @⛔LIVE CAM & [S]EX - CHECK MY LINK⛔ be gone that let us men talk about how communication systems work u harlet.

    • Natalie Green
      Natalie Green 4 months ago +3

      As a Taco graduate, this video wrapped up the topic nicely.

    • ユングマンJungman
      ユングマンJungman 4 months ago +3

      yup, I am also a Telco graduate and this video wraps up information pretty good

    • master shooter64
      master shooter64 4 months ago +5

      what books would you recommend if i wanna learn about telecommunications engineering?

  • ezanchi
    ezanchi 3 months ago +2

    Excellent video! I noticed a mistake where you say a 2 meter wavelength wave is on the UHF spectrum, where it would actually be on the VHF Very High Frequency spectrum, ranging from 1 meter to 10 meters.

  • Jancel Abobo
    Jancel Abobo 4 months ago +1

    As a former Telecoms Engineer, I had been slow clapping throughout this video. This was so well written

  • A I
    A I 3 months ago

    exceptionally great video! just had my final exam on a MSc module signal processing and transmission a couple of days ago and this is basically this course in 20mins! Awesome

  • Guse Falito
    Guse Falito 4 months ago

    I like how you scale up the explanation from something rather simple to something much more complicated. It helped me follow along

  • The Tax Geek
    The Tax Geek 4 months ago +670

    This video just blew me away. To break down such a complicated technological subject, starting with the nature of light itself, to transmitting thousands of messages simultaneously, step by step, so that each step builds on the other, is a very rare talent. I have a new respect for our telecommunications system and the people who make it work.

    • KaraHops
      KaraHops 3 months ago +4

      @Larry Thielen The original CDMA is a 2G technology; CDMA2000, WCDMA, and HSPA are sometimes referred to as simply "CDMA" but are 3G technologies.

    • Larry Thielen
      Larry Thielen 3 months ago +2

      @KaraHops CDMA is 3G technology. That is where this video topped out.

    • KaraHops
      KaraHops 4 months ago +11

      It's even more complicated than this; this video tops out at 2G technology! 3G, 4G, and 5G continue to get yet more complex. Additionally, in high-density areas like cities, cells don't have one omnidirectional antenna in the middle, but rather three or more directional antennas at the corners.

    • Danny Mullins
      Danny Mullins 4 months ago +8

      And Sam for being able to explain it the way he did in this video!

  • Eric Gulseth
    Eric Gulseth 4 months ago +2

    Great job taking a complicated subject and simplifying it to a 17 minute video. Though I find it dishearting that so many commenters, who supposedly went to school for this stuff, seem to have only understood the subject matter after watching this video.

  • Big Kahuna Burger
    Big Kahuna Burger 4 months ago

    We take for granted how amazing this technology is and how much really goes into the use of our devices. Thanks for posting this!

  • Neil
    Neil 18 days ago +1

    Wow! This was incredible. I trained as a Telecomms engineer way back in the late 60s when everything was analogue and all switching was performed using electromechanical systems. Although I have some training in microwave technology I never dealt with digital nor with cell (mobile to us in the UK) technologies. I so wish I could have. This video shows just how fascinating and ingenious the engineers are who devised these systems. What an irony that such a master piece of engineer is used, largely, for such trivial purposes! Ah well, that’s people for you. Thanks for this video - absolutely amazing.

  • Geoff Fountain
    Geoff Fountain 4 months ago

    This is a great explanation of something I never thought enough about. More of this style of video!

  • zpiritual
    zpiritual 4 months ago +622

    Impressive video! Having worked on 5G in the telecom industry recently (backend, not radio) the amount of data the teams working on radio figured out how to send seemed like magic. After this video it doesn't, bravo!

    • Scienteer
      Scienteer 4 months ago

      @pawala the bit missing from the video was the effect of all these modulation schemes on the bandwidth of the signal.

    • pawala
      pawala 4 months ago

      @Scienteer Sure. Once you reach orthogonal time frequency space (OTFS) modulation and MIMO antenna systems, it definitely can be.
      Heck, I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of the underlying mechanisms of non-orthogonal multiple access, and most of the math still seems like magic.
      But, I still thoroughly enjoyed his take and his explanations for everything.
      Hopefully, it will help demystify how radio signals work for the people who think tech like 4G and 5G are basically black magic.

    • UncleTrashero
      UncleTrashero 4 months ago

      its basically data compression using the equivalent of an encryption algorithm

    • Serrara Willow Mayfield - aka Fluttershy
      Serrara Willow Mayfield - aka Fluttershy 4 months ago +22

      @Scienteer Which he blatantly states multiple times

    • Scienteer
      Scienteer 4 months ago +1

      The reality is that things are much much more complex than this video makes out.

  • Christian Acosta
    Christian Acosta 3 months ago

    Amazing job simplifying this amazingly complex topic. Thank you very much for sharing.

  • TechT10n
    TechT10n 3 months ago

    This is an amazingly well done video. I've been working in the cellular industry for well over a decade and I've never seen these fundamentals explained so eloquently with amazing visualizations such that it can be informative to somebody at any level of experience.
    I expect that I will be sharing this video with future coworkers for many years.

  • James Bundy
    James Bundy 3 months ago +2

    I am very, very impressed with this video. I coordinate RF for live shows, and every once and a while I get to nerd out with others about the concepts of AM, FM, PSK, etc… I have NEVER seen it explained so well. Excellent work!

  • Ameliya--T[A]P Me!! To Have [S]EX With Me

    As a Telecommunications engineer graduate, I wish I had seen this video a few years ago. Really helpful and well explained information

  • Brandon Smith
    Brandon Smith 4 months ago +394

    As someone who works in the telecommunications industry I want to thank you for this video. Making such a complex topic relatively easy to understand. The average consumer gets mad when their data slows down or call gets choppy, but they don't understand that there are quite literally physical limitations to cell service. Now throw in multiple telecommunication competitors all fighting for spectrum and the logistics of providing cell service gets even more complex.

    • AndyRob
      AndyRob 2 months ago

      Easily pleased by glossy graphics and a script that could have come from anywhere. Given his background, in fact I’m betting it was written. You’ve just watched a RU-clip version of a news reader

    • David Tracy
      David Tracy 3 months ago +2

      They don't just fight over spectrum. I constantly end up on sites where multiple carriers are crammed up against each other vertically on the same tower. This was fine in the GSM/UMTS days, but as antennas got bigger on the same sites, and the technology gets more sensitive, shadowing issues keep cropping up. Some of these antennas overlap and end up blasting each other with RF energy, and the engineers are always shocked that they have interference (PIM/RTWP) issues. On occasion, we find that the same carrier interferes with itself (antennas not spread out laterally, or turned sideways on the boom, unintentionally shadowing each other). As time goes on, more maintenance work is dedicated to interference, and less towards mechanical issues, like power failure, dark fibers, or VSWR (like a short in a wire, but in coax).

    • Md. Mohaiminul Islam
      Md. Mohaiminul Islam 3 months ago

      @Vysair it just explains the method this technology is based on. What these varying types of electromagnetic waves affect living beings in short to long term is another thing that's very concerning

    • svampebob007
      svampebob007 3 months ago +1

      as a tech savvy person I had an understanding of how it all worked... boy was there much that I didn't actually know!

  • DudeySocks
    DudeySocks 4 months ago

    As a Telecommunications engineer graduate, I wish I had seen this video a few years ago. Really helpful and well explained information

  • The Dave
    The Dave 3 months ago

    This was a great video! I like the level of detail and how you broke it down in a way that I could understand. Thank you.

  • CHITUS💙⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻

    I've done communication engineering courses, the amount of background requireded to understand how this stuff works is crazy. The fact that you managed to provide a Layman's explanation for such an advanced topic is very impressive. No Fourier transforms or complicated math, well done.

  • Osku
    Osku 2 months ago

    I work on 5G software development and I found this video really great at explaining the subject. Good job!

  • Ben Stravinskas
    Ben Stravinskas 4 months ago +277

    I’m an Electrical Engineering student and I’ve studied communication systems, I did not understand most of what I studied until this video. Thank you.

    • Moh the MVP
      Moh the MVP 4 months ago +4

      Im an Electrical Engineering graduate and did not learn a single thing in my communications class or my digital signal processing class. In this video, I learned more about those 2 subjects than an entire semester worth in those classes. Classes in university just teach you the math B.S, like using fourier transforms

    • bcobb7777
      bcobb7777 4 months ago +7

      Same here; I studied this topic 20 years ago in a EE degree and the content was so mathematical and theoretical that I had no idea the basic concepts could be explained so simply. I wish my professors were as skilled at presentation as the creator of this channel.

    • SEXY GIRLS💋💦
      SEXY GIRLS💋💦 4 months ago

      🅟︎🅞︎🅡︎🅝︎ 🅒︎🅞︎🅛︎🅔︎🅒︎🅣︎🅘︎🅞︎🅝︎⤵️
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------❣️ SHAKE-BODY.COM/marsya?PRIVATE 🔞
      RU-clip: This is ok Someone: say "Heck" RU-clip: gone #But #I #I love #such #fisherman #funny #fun #young female #funny #垃圾
      RU-clip: これは大丈夫です
      誰か: 「ヘック」と言う
      RU-clip: なくなって
      #しかし #わたし #私は愛する #そのような #漁師 #面白い #楽しい #若い女性 #面白い #垃圾

    • the air accumulator
      the air accumulator 4 months ago

      @THIS we especially need these verses in these times

  • Spence Redford
    Spence Redford 4 months ago +2

    No flashy introduction. Just straight to the content. Best channel on YT!

  • ergosteur
    ergosteur 4 months ago

    Honestly such an amazing explanation of PSK, QAM, CDMA, all things that I was vaguely aware of but always found too intimidating to really get further into.

  • ArtiePenguin1
    ArtiePenguin1 4 months ago

    After watching a bunch of Half As Interesting videos, I have to stay that the videos here on this main channel are way better. You go into much more detail here and don't cut the video off (seemingly) halfway through explaining things just to get to an advertisement.
    Thank you for keeping this video more technical and detailed and for not falling into calling all cell sites "cell towers".

  • nicoalbus
    nicoalbus 3 months ago +1

    Thanks to people who invented this crazy "electric signal communication thing" that empower our lives.

  • DZT0021B
    DZT0021B 3 months ago

    Wow. Excellent content! I especially like how you broke down CDMA algorithmically. I still need to rewatch it to fully absorb, but it’s definitely a fun mental exercise.

  • chosen_x_create
    chosen_x_create 3 months ago

    jeez, i have been studying computer science for the past 6 years of my life, but I have never seen any explanation as perfect as this, good job!
    I do not even understand how people survive without watching wendover contents. this is currently the best channel yet.

  • MooCJMoo
    MooCJMoo 4 months ago

    This was a fantastic video. Impressive and full of easy to digest knowledge on complicated topics!!!

  • Christian Riehs
    Christian Riehs 3 months ago

    This reaches Veritasium's level of depth and explaining. Thanks for the great video!

  • Kona & Suba
    Kona & Suba 4 months ago +394

    The Wendover team doing great work again!

  • Brendan Geormer
    Brendan Geormer 3 months ago

    As many times as I've heard explanations for AM, FM, and then the more advanced technologies for the different Gs; this is definitely the best explanation I've heard. Really impressed.

  • vrgonagetya
    vrgonagetya 3 months ago

    Working in the industry and this was the best intro to the field. Great job!

  • EweChewBrrr
    EweChewBrrr 4 months ago

    You explained this so simply that I was able to follow along every step of the way. Great video mate!

  • Al Beebe
    Al Beebe Month ago

    this may very well be the best explanation i have ever seen for anything ever. Absolutely incredible the amount of thought, research and production. A+

  • bracco23
    bracco23 4 months ago +317

    Really nice explanation of CDMA. Just a note, that didn't seem clear to me from the video but I think is important: when he says that we add the codified messages to obtain that sum, out of which the receiver has to get the messages back, we don't do the sum on purpose. It's the media, the way the messages are represented is such that if two users send their message at the same time to one receiver, the receiver gets the sum of the two messages. The ability to craft the messages in such a way as to always be able to retrieve the original components in a consistent way is where the mathemagic happens.

    • Espen Joris Gottschal
      Espen Joris Gottschal 3 months ago

      That is so cool, thanks for the explanation.

    • Matthew Morycinski
      Matthew Morycinski 3 months ago

      @basketballprodigy12 You don't. In direct spread spectrum, the receiver ends up _selectively_ picking out the "wanted" digital stream, and suppressing all the others. It's selectivity in the _digital_ domain, not the frequency/phase/amplitude domain.

    • Kurt Richter
      Kurt Richter 3 months ago

      @basketballprodigy12 I presume they must all be in clock sync derived from the network and a super precise ntp type protocol, perhaps enhanced by super precise gps clock.

    • Kurt Richter
      Kurt Richter 3 months ago

      THANKS! this filled a small gap - I was wondering how they coordinated their combined message but now it seems so obvious! ❤️

    • Mikayla Maki
      Mikayla Maki 3 months ago

      Ahhhhh, I was wondering how the addition happened, seems like it would have required too much coordination for this network structure. Thank you!

  • Davixxa
    Davixxa 4 months ago +1

    As a Computer Science student, I wish I had seen this like 2 months ago. Would have helped me understand CDMA a lot better for the calculations I needed to do at that point lol

  • MaxxYield
    MaxxYield 3 months ago

    This is hands down the best, easiest to digest and highly informative explanation of such a highly complicated process. I will be saving this to my favorite list to watch in sections over and over...
    I truly thank you...🙌🤯

  • Heimbad
    Heimbad 3 months ago

    Wow! I never thought I could learn as much and as well as I just did in this topic in such a short amount of time. This is truly a master video! Again: Wow!

  • Thomas Huitric
    Thomas Huitric 3 months ago

    Brilliant. I work in telecommunications and I have never seen a better, simpler explanation of CDMA/OFDMA, love your videos, they should be shown to engineering students!

  • Jay Straw
    Jay Straw 3 months ago

    That was a fantastic explanation of CDMA -- at least I think it was, I had absolutely no idea how it worked before. Fascinating, I'm gonna bite into it more, thanks Wendover!

  • Mr Squariel
    Mr Squariel 3 months ago +1

    Well done for such a great video tackling very difficult subject. I wish I could have explained it as well any time I have tried to tell people how their cell phone works. You touched on it briefly but there is a whole other video to be made on how the call transfers between towers when you are on the move and even how the call knows where to find you if, for example, you get off a plane in another city or country.

  • Procyan NLN
    Procyan NLN 3 months ago

    What sets this apart from other videos, for me, is the background music/score. To me, it gives weight to the narration and really adds that something extra that makes it an awesome video. Great production Mr. Wendover or Team Wendover. ;-)

  • Edward Cabaniss
    Edward Cabaniss 4 months ago +1

    While you managed to explain a very complex system in layman's terms, I gotta admit that my brain is still hurting. lol

  • Adam Johnson
    Adam Johnson 4 months ago +254

    as someone who recently went to school for this, and now works with communications & two-way radios - this was really well done. it helped fill in some holes in my knowledge for sure.
    next up, i challenge you to make a video so easily understandable about Antenna theory

    • Joseph EL BoSs
      Joseph EL BoSs 4 months ago

      @Adam Johnson agree

    • Adam Johnson
      Adam Johnson 4 months ago +4

      @Joseph EL BoSs hahahah well i mean, i definitely knew about FM, AM, PWM, time division multiplexing, etc etc but just seeing it broken into a video i watched on a lunch break instead of a semester at school, is just impressive.
      modern school systems are outdated.

    • Joseph EL BoSs
      Joseph EL BoSs 4 months ago

      this guy went to schoool for this but he still learn new things from this video. mindblowing 🤯

    • Dennis Premoli
      Dennis Premoli 4 months ago +4

      Thats sounds more like a Veritasium video

  • Mateo Sanchez
    Mateo Sanchez 3 months ago

    Man you have such a unique and inherent talent to make complex ideas into simple ones. Thank you so much for your work, its inspiring

  • Andrew Collings
    Andrew Collings 4 months ago

    I’ve never seen such a clear and concise explanation of QAM or CDMA. I’d love to see a follow up video on OFDM, it’s n extremely cool technology.

  • Qiyuan Zhou
    Qiyuan Zhou 4 months ago +5

    1:48 - This should be ultra low frequency waves. Ultra high frequency waves are things like x-rays/gamma rays

    • Dane Meade
      Dane Meade 2 months ago +3

      No he's right- they're ultra high frequency *radio* waves. Radio waves are inherently very low frequency, and that's on the higher end of that spectrum. Much lower frequency than visible light, but higher frequency than most radio waves.

  • Reavenk
    Reavenk 3 months ago

    I always thought binary communication was just high/low thresholds. Seeing how there are lots of dimensions in what makes a binary signal now makes the benefits of twisted wires pairs a lot more obvious.

  • Heul Doch
    Heul Doch 4 months ago

    You and Jake Tran are my favourite channels on this platform at the moment
    Keep up the good work!

  • Muhamad Azrin Asat
    Muhamad Azrin Asat Month ago

    I felt oddly very satisfied watching this explanation. I've been watching numerous youtube video explaining how electromagnetic wave transformed to transmit mind boggling massive amount of different data at one time. Got the very basic of it but not as deep as this one. This one is quite deep into the mechanics but also reasonably simplified for greater audience reach. Very well done WP..

  • Swapnil Sharma
    Swapnil Sharma 4 months ago +1

    Thank you for such a good refresher on EM waves. I am gonna have a blast prepping for my physics exam😂

  • Zacco
    Zacco 3 months ago

    This is a fantastic video.
    I'm so glad to be getting my first phone plan ever in a few days from now!

  • VT GG
    VT GG 4 months ago +133

    You just packed a half semester class of "Wireless Communications" into a 17min video. It was actually one of my fav classed back in my Uni days and one of the Few passing with A

  • Danny Mullins
    Danny Mullins 4 months ago

    ... And I tip my hat over to you, Sir!
    I have a feeling that this will be your highest rated and/or most watched video. Ever.
    You and your team should feel proud at accomplishing such an educationally dense video!

  • Kevin Blatter
    Kevin Blatter 4 months ago

    Thank you very much for your video. You encapsulated my entire grad-level telecommunications class that I took back in the late 1980's into a single video. (Well, if you had covered all of the theories behind the practical implementation of these theories.)

  • Quanta Loop
    Quanta Loop 4 months ago

    the best explanation on this topic, for non-professionals, I've encountered so far. Congrats!

  • Samuel Carvalho
    Samuel Carvalho 4 months ago

    A truly interesting and accurate video! Fantastic Sam!

  • Conner Rocha
    Conner Rocha 4 months ago +129

    It’s amazing how humans have been able to create these things all within the span of just a few decades, and most of these upgrades within just the past few years. Truly amazing how far we have come in technology in the past century.

    • britishempires
      britishempires 4 months ago

      Humans didn't create none of this.. it was given by the creator of this simulation.

  • Wesley Chaffin
    Wesley Chaffin 4 months ago

    Fantastic info. IQ modulation BLEW my mind when I first learned about it doing my EE Degree. Now you'll have to do a follow up video to deal with doppler shift and OFDM ;). Very impressive way to teach the basics without introducing too much math.

  • Dreamy
    Dreamy 3 months ago +1

    3G cell service needs to be nationalized and complimentary for all emergency services

  • DontDoIt
    DontDoIt 6 days ago

    As a software engineer, once again, I am pleasantly surprised that it was a coding solution that solved this.