Since its inception in 1997, WiFi has become an integral tool in our daily lives. We use it to connect to the internet, stream videos, and communicate with family and friends. But who is the genius behind creating this transformative technology? In this article, we will examine the pioneering engineers who made WiFi a reality and enabled us to benefit from this incredible tool.
1. Introduction to Wifi
What Is Wifi?
Wifi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is a form of wireless communication that enables devices such as laptops and mobile phones to connect to the internet without needing a physical connection. Wifi networks can be found in a variety of public and private places, such as homes, cafes, libraries and airports.
How Does Wifi Work?
Wifi works by sending and receiving data wirelessly between connected devices. This is made possible by a Wifi router, which acts as an access point and transmits the data across radio waves. Any device with a compatible Wifi adapter then receives and interprets the radio signal, allowing the device to connect to the internet via the access point.
Benefits of Wifi
Using Wifi has numerous advantages over physical networks, especially in terms of convenience and cost. Wifi networks are easy to setup, require minimal maintenance and can be used for both Internet access and sharing files and media with other users. Furthermore, Wifi networks are able to cover larger areas than traditional wired networks and can be secured using a variety of authentication methods, making it a secure form of communication.
2. Origins of Wifi Technology
The trace back to the year 1985 with the development of two separate technologies: Radio Ethernet and HIPERLAN.
Radio Ethernet was created by a University of Hawaii professor named Norman Abramson, who proposed an idea of connecting computers without the need of cables. His proposal was implemented through ALOHAnet, a network that connected seven Hawaiian islands together. This network used the same UHF broadcast technology as the normal radios. Because the network covered a wide area, it had relatively low bandwidth and was not suitable for general use.
HIPERLAN was developed by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) as a way to connect personal computers, laptops, and handheld devices wirelessly. This technology used packet-based communication and provided a much higher-speed connection than Radio Ethernet. It was initially used to communicate within a strong, local network but soon underwent multiple modifications to become the main technology used in the current Wifi network.
- Radio Ethernet was the first wireless network technology.
- It connected seven Hawaiian islands using UHF broadcast technology.
- HIPERLAN was developed by ETSI to provide much higher speed connections.
- It underwent multiple modifications to become the main technology used in the current Wifi network.
3. Key Players in the Development of Wifi
The development of Wi-Fi was made possible by the following key players:
- NCR Corporation/AT&T: Their role in the development of Wi-Fi was critical as they developed WaveLAN technology, which was the first commercial wireless internet system.
- Intersil: They produced the PRISM chipset in 1997, which enabled manufacturers to begin producing 802.11 Wi-Fi-certified based products.
- Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) & Power Matters Alliance (PMA): These two organizations developed the Rezence standard in 2014, which utilizes low-cost magnetic resonance technology and makes charging systems more convenient.
Microsoft: The company developed the early Wi-Fi products, like MSN Direct and MSN Explorer, which bridged the gap between dedicated devices such as Pocket PCs with the internet.
Telocity/Cisco: Through these two telecom companies, the development of mobile broadband services helped shape Wi-Fi technology, by allowing for greater access to the internet.
4. The Milestone of Wifi Creation
The creation of Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) has been an ongoing project that has been in the making since the 1970s. WiFi has had some important milestones along the way that have helped to develop it into the reliable form of communication it currently is.
The first important milestone of this was Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil’s 1940 patent for a ‘Secret Communications System’ used for guided torpedoes. This isn’t the first time that the thought of radio communication had been considered, however, this simple piece of technology was a breakthrough in the foundation of Wifi and is what has been used to form the first networks that have come to form the internet today.
In 1971, the ALOHAnet was launched in Hawaii and is one of the earliest Wireless Network projects. ALOHAnet allowed multiple computers to communicate over a single frequency, using a random transmission scheme known as ‘Aloha Random Access.’ This was then followed a year later by The Ethernet, which is a communication protocol utilised in modern computer network designs.
Finally, in 1997, the 802.11 standard was approved by the IEEE Standards Association which set the official guidelines for Wifi technology. This protocol contains several different versions that support different speeds, available networks and different levels of security. More importantly, this protocol was the first to introduce the ‘WiFi’ name.
Notable Achievements Along the Way:
- Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil’s ‘Secret Communication System (1940)
- The ALOHAnet (1971)
- The Ethernet (1972)
- The 802.11 Standard Approval (1997)
5. The Impact of Wifi on Modern Society
Wireless technology, more commonly known as Wi-Fi, has revolutionized the way we communicate and stay connected in the modern world. Wi-Fi enables us to stay connected to our friends, family and the world at large, almost anywhere and anytime. Here are a few of the ways that Wi-Fi has impacted modern society:
- Access to Information: Access to information has been greatly facilitated by Wi-Fi as it has enabled us to instantly access a wealth of information at the click of a button. Wi-Fi has played a critical role in advancing education by providing access to educational materials, learning opportunities and even educational resources. Additionally, Wi-Fi has allowed us to gain access to news, keep up with current events, and even complete research projects anywhere, anytime.
- Global Communication: Wi-Fi has reshaped the traditional form of communication. It has enabled us to having real-time conversations, share ideas with people around the globe, and even collaborate with team members around the world. This has resulted in an increase of global connectivity and collaboration between countries around the world.
- Business Productivity: Wi-Fi has allowed businesses to stay connected and productive no matter where their employees are located. With Wi-Fi, businesses are able to access their data, collaborate on projects, and even conduct online meetings and conferences. Moreover, with Wi-Fi, businesses no longer have to worry about expensive hardware as Wi-Fi enabled devices can easily be used to access their business data and networks.
In conclusion, Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we communicate, stay connected, and access information. It has made it easier for businesses and individuals to collaborate and stay productive, regardless of their physical location. Wi-Fi has changed the way we live and the way we interact with each other in modern society.
In closing, wifi has evolved to become a ubiquitous technology that is used in everyday life and across a number of industries. Despite the various inventions and advancements in the field, the inventor of wifi is credited to John O’Sullivan and the team at CSIRO. Without his initial innovation, it is hard to imagine what our world would look like today.