The world of cellular and wireless technology is constantly evolving, as much of our daily activities rely on that infrastructure. Jesse Eugene Russell, born April 26, 1948 in Nashville, Tenn., is known as the “Father of Digital Cellular Technology.”

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Russell was the first person hired from an HBCU by technology leader A&T Bell Laboratories, today known as Bell Labs. The Tennessee State University and Stanford University graduate earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering.

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As its chief digital architect, Russell led the first team at Bell Labs to introduce digital cellular technology to the United States in 1988. This would be the early stages of wireless networks that cell phones and other mobile devices rely on today to communicate signals. The technology existed in some form prior in Japan, but Russell was able to bring it to fruition domestically.

Russell is also credited with creating the first digital cellular base station, which essentially changed the use of cell towers to transmit signals. Russell currently owns over 75 patents in digital cellular technologies, dual-mode digital cellular phones, and digital software radio.

His New Jersey-based IncNetworks, Inc. company works on 4G (Fourth-Generation) wireless and digital technologies. Russell was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1995 for his weighty contributions, among many other accolades.

Russell, 71, resides in Piscataway, N.J.

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