WiFi history (also spelled “Wi-Fi”) starts with an invention that became a necessity of living in the modern world. At first, Wi-Fi went under many names until it eventually acquired the branded name it has today. You’ve probably heard the example of how not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis but all Jacuzzis are hot tubs? The current state of Wi-Fi is like if every hot tub on earth was a Jacuzzi.
Read on to learn how Wi-Fi started as one man’s project and spiraled into a captivating system that has become a utility in developed countries around the world.
WiFi History: The Early Years
Unlike many inventions, the history of Wi-Fi begins not with ancient ideas but pure modern technology. Wi-Fi couldn’t have been conceived before the time of its invention, which begins in 1971 in Hawaii.
A company called ALOHAnet used a wireless packet network to connect the islands via a system surprisingly similar to modern Ethernet. Using this premise, Vic Hayes began work on the Wi-Fi network for NCR Corp. in 1974.
This began the evolution of the technology, a process that leads us to 1997 when the first “modern” network was proposed.
The Transition Years
The 802.11 committee formed in 1997 to define what wireless local communication means for a network or WLAN. They created IEEE802.11, which allowed a wireless transfer of data (2MB per second) between devices over a local network.
This network allowed the committee to envision and prototype devices that could be placed in consumers’ homes. These devices (we now call them routers) made Wi-Fi viable home technology by 1999.
This year also saw the creation of the Wi-Fi Alliance by the company Interbrand, the brand that now refers to most Wi-Fi products on the market.
WiFi History from Then to Now
Wi-Fi history after 1999 involves less invention so much as advancement. The speed and distance with which information could be sent over the network continued to improve. By 2003, Wi-Fi upgraded nearly to the utility of a conventional wired internet connection.
This climaxed in 2009 with 802.11n, a network improvement that allowed multiple antennas to make the signal stronger. This improved communication at both ends. Companies could use more antennas to boost their signal strength and consumers could use them to receive more data more quickly.
This meant that with no significant jump in power technology, Wi-Fi expanded and sped up with fewer and fewer limits. Now primarily operating in the 5Ghz range, the system continued to advance to the present day and still upgrades the network.
The limits of the system do not rely on technology advances so much as increases in efficiency based on reworkings of the system. These limits show no signs of slowing.
WiFi history involves a revolution of advances in wireless communication. They allowed tech companies to offer data transmission services at speeds that eventually overtook those of wired networks. This technology continues to refine, for greater system coverage and faster transmission to this day. Today, Wi-Fi is an indispensable aspect of living in the 21st century.