Technology is so ever-present and so miniaturized that we don’t always notice when it’s around. It’s easy to miss. And really, when many things do their jobs, we don’t want to notice that they’re doing their jobs. They’re the unsung heroes of the digital age.
But it’s best to know what’s doing what. When one of those unsung heroes breaks, you don’t want to be left wondering where the problem is. How can you fix it if you don’t know what’s broken?
One of the most interesting parts of your laptop isn’t even inside it. You’ve probably noticed the cylinder wrapped around the charging cord at some point, probably when you’re trying to wrap the cord up neatly and failing miserably.
That little cylinder is called a ferrite bead. And for a small thing, it plays a big role in keeping your computer running well.
All those tiny moving parts like the laptop’s hard drive, motherboard, video card, and many others spin and vibrate with the capability of producing radio frequencies.
The case around the laptop dulls those vibrations and stops them from causing any interference. And of course your phone doesn’t have those moving parts, so it doesn’t create those frequencies.
However, the cables attached to your laptop act as antennae.
They can both broadcast your laptop’s vibrations as radio frequencies and pick up signals, which creates interference. And just imagine trying to use your Wi-Fi with random competing signals in the way. It would be like trying to listen to your favorite song with seven different tunes playing at the same time.
Just snapping a cylinder filled with ferrite — an alloy of iron oxide (rust) — can deaden those interfering signals.
So a ferrite bead is a simple, cost-effective way to prevent interference between your many great electronic devices.
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