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Connexions - Digital Networks

Following the evolution of communication through telephone, radio and television networks, the Connexions Exhibition moves into the 21st century with its latest addition: a digital networks exhibit. Driven by the need to send more information faster than ever before, digital networks first emerged in the mid-70s bringing together semiconductor capabilities and switching expertise — allowing information to travel around the world at the blink of an eye. Continuing to follow the story of data transfer technology as it advances at a rapid pace, the exhibition introduces visitors to the science, mathematics and hardware behind digital communications, and how they have dramatically changed how we communicate in the new millennium. The digital network set the stage for many of the valuable networking capabilities that we all take for granted today and provided the foundation for many of the next big advances in global communications.

Exhibition at a glance

optical fibreIn a highly interactive and immersive environment, visitors are introduced to the science and processes by which messages are formatted for travel through a digital network. Interacting with the exhibition as they travel through each section, visitors will experience the three modes of digital transmission currently in use around the world: wire, optical fibre and wireless, to discover how consumer demand has coupled with technology to deliver
multi-functional digital networks.


Presents the historical development of the digital network as it is known today, and shows how seemingly complex processes are the result of many simple functions.


Visitors travel through a giant digital network, making decisions and being routed as though packets of information.


Often seen as incredibly complex, digital networks are the result of many simple actions that result in a complex outcome. Visitors are fascinated by the apparent simplicity of the concept when explained, and how digital networks are implicated in much of their everyday lives.


Approximately 20 artifacts and 15 objects related to telecommunication, including hand-held devices, portable phones, optical fibres and network components.


More than a dozen interactive activities of different types and media including computer and video displays, a suspended webbing bridge and slides, a talking keyboard and hidden cameras.

Theme characters/exhibition mascots:

Visitors are guided through the exhibit by Tera Bit and Gig A. Byte, animated characters who interact with the public via computer games and interactive displays.

The Connexions exhibition’s newest addition presents the role of the digital network in changing the face of communications around the world. Set on two levels: a ground floor Network Operations Centre (NOC), and an upper level walk-through network, the exhibit offers a strong information component as well as an exciting interactive element. From the main level NOC, visitors are able to follow data packets as they travel through a network — either wired, wireless or fibre optic — and influence the efficiency of transmission while learning how a network functions. The upper level offers the chance to travel through a network and be routed as if a data packet. With routers that help determine the direction visitors travel, a suspended bridge made of webbing representing wireless networks, and a zip ride to demonstrate point-to-point wireless communication, the upper level offers an exceptional and unique experience.

Welcome to the digital world!

Explore how consumer demand coupled with emerging technology has driven the integration of services, from e-mail and e-commerce to voice and video calls, on to multifunctional digital networks that span the globe.

Using the network

E-learning, telemedicine, and gaming are a few examples of how digital networks are used in our daily lives. Visitors discover the impact of the development and expansion of digital networks on so many aspects of their life.

Making a message

Discover how information is transformed into the digital language of our high tech world.

Moving through a network

Move through a physical representation of a network as a packet of information and experience, first hand, the transitions between wired, wireless and optical networks.

Understanding network terms

In our everyday lives, some terms and acronyms have become part of our common language. An historical time line shows their appearance and some of the key events and discoveries leading up to today’s digital networks.

Comments should be sent to: bdewalt@technomuses.ca