Skip to main content

How Has Wi-Fi & Wireless Network Technology Developed in 50 Years?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

A visioner & technology enthusiast who envisions the unlimited possibilities of wi-fi & wireless technology combined with IoT devices.

Wi-Fi 6 Certified!

Wi-Fi 6 Certified!

The Beginning!

The word Wi-Fi got coined by “Interbrand”, a brand consulting firm, in 1999. “Wi-Fi” is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit global company formerly known as “Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance”, founded in the US in the year 1998. Wi-Fi is an abbreviation of Wireless-Fidelity, but never commercially used in such a way. The research and development of wireless networks began in the year 1971 with ALOHAnet, a computer network system developed by the University of Hawaii connecting the Hawaiian Islands by a (UHF - Ultra High Frequency) wireless packet data network and were early birds to enter the era of Ethernet and IEEE 802.11 - Legacy mode. In the early 1980s, frequencies become available for mobile networks for signaling and controlling purposes, resulting in a first-generation network known as 1G. In the late 1980s, GSM, a European Standardization Group, used ALOHA channels for radio frequencies’ connectivity in mobile phones. This led to the development of the second-generation wireless network- 2G, with an SMS message texting facility. In the early 2000s, BBN Technologies analyzed and successfully used ALOHA channels for innovation of GPRS in next networks generations, namely 2.5G and 3G, the 3G network is currently available in most mobile phones. With further developments in network hardware and software, an enormous amount of data gets shared in seconds using LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. LTE has better connectivity, data transfer, capability and meets standards than previous generations wireless networks, and is a base for 4th and 5th generation networks known as 4G and 5G.

Wi-Fi Technology Development.

Wi-Fi Technology Development.

Wireless Networks Timeline.

The first wireless network got commercially developed in the year 1986 by NCR after ALOHAnet tested wireless data transfer through radio waves on Hawaii islands in June-1971. Timeline of wireless network development includes:

  • 1971 - First Wireless Data transmission between devices by ALOHAnet channels.
  • 1973 - Ethernet 802.3 got released.
  • The 1980s - 1G mobile network, ALOHAnet channels used by European GSM for mobile connectivity.
  • The 1990s - MOSFET wireless technology development in Digital Wireless Networks.
  • 1991 - 2G Cellphone network.
  • 1997 - First IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard released.
  • 1999 - 803.11 VoIP integration.
  • 1999 - Wi-Fi got introduced for home use.
  • The 2000s - Development in mobile transceivers, routers, RF circuits, and power amplifiers, radio transceivers, telecommunication circuits, base module stations along with 3G/ 4G/ 5G.
  • 2001 - IEEE 802.16, WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), a wireless communication standard released to deliver last-mile Wireless broadband access as a substitute for DSL, cable, and provide VoIP & IPTV services.
  • 2003 - IEEE 802.11g standard released with greater speed and larger coverage area.
  • 2007 - Embedded Wi-Fi Modules become available to enable and disable any device wirelessly.
  • 2008 - IoT word coined by IBSG (Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group).
  • 2009 - IEEE 802.11n standard released with multiple inputs & multiple outputs (MIMO), routers with multiple antennas.
  • 2010 - Bluetooth & Infrared connectivity through WPAN.
  • 2013 - IEEE 802.11ac standard released.
  • 2016 - Wave 1 & Wave 2 Certification, Wave 2 certification introduced in the year 2016 by IEEE 802.11ac with products supporting 5GHz frequency channels, four antennas/ four spatial streams, MU-MIMO (downlink only), and 160 MHz channel width support, Wave 2 certified products have superior features than wave 1 certified product.
  • 2019 - IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard released.
Technology Grows With Time!

Technology Grows With Time!

Type of Common Wireless Networks & their connectivity ranges:

  • WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network)

WPAN connects devices within a few meters like infrared and Bluetooth connectivity in cell phones and laptops for transferring data.

  • WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)
Scroll to Continue

WLAN connects two or more devices through an access point for internet access using OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology, devices within the coverage area stay connected with no wired cable network.

  • WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network)

WMAN typically covers extensive areas, such as an entire city or town, connecting branch offices within the town. A typical WMAN system contains station gateways, wireless bridging relays, and access points on 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands like a public internet access system.

  • WMAN (Wireless Metropolitan Area Network)

WMAN connects several WLANs like WiMAX, which provides multiple physical layers (PHY) and media access control (MAC) options. WMAN Advanced - a candidate for 4G, competes with the LTE Advanced standard.

5G / 6G / 7G stands for the future!

5G / 6G / 7G stands for the future!

Current Decade Scenario.

  • In 2021, 22.2+ billion Wi-Fi (WLAN) devices already got connected to the internet.
  • As of 2020, Indians on average consume 11 GB of data per month, according to Nokia India Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Amit Marah.
  • As of January 2021, 4.66+ Billion active internet consumers exist globally, which accumulates to 59.5% of the global population and out of which 92% access the internet through mobile devices.
  • On average, every home got 7 Wi-Fi connected devices.
  • 5G is making IoT feasible in many sectors.
  • The global market value of IoT has already crossed $7.1+ trillion.
  • 300 MB+ per second on Wi-Fi internet speed is available.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Hiren V

Related Articles