How was Wifi developed?

The History of WiFi

In 1971, ALOHAnet connected the Hawaiian Islands with a UHF wireless packet network. ALOHAnet and the ALOHA protocol were early forerunners to Ethernet, and later the IEEE 802.11 protocols, respectively.

Vic Hayes is often regarded as the "father of Wi-Fi." He started such work in 1974 when he joined NCR Corp., now part of semiconductor components maker Agere Systems.

A 1985 ruling by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission released the ISM band for unlicensed use - these are frequencies in the 2.4GHz band. These frequency bands are the same ones used by equipment such as microwave ovens and are subject to interference.

In 1991, NCR Corporation with AT&T Corporation invented the precursor to 802.11, intended for use in cashier systems. The first wireless products were under the name WaveLAN. They are the ones credited with inventing Wi-Fi.

The Australian radio-astronomer John O'Sullivan with his colleagues Terence Percival, Graham Daniels, Diet Ostry, John Deane developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research project, "a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle".

In 1992 and 1996, CSIRO obtained patents for a method later used in Wi-Fi to "unsmear" the signal.

The first version of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997, and provided up to 2 Mbit/s link speeds. This was updated in 1999 with 802.11b to permit 11 Mbit/s link speeds, and this proved to be popular.

The WiFi Brand and Trademark

In 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance formed as a trade association to hold the Wi-Fi trademark under which most products are sold. The name Wi-Fi, commercially used at least as early as August 1999, was coined by the brand-consulting firm Interbrand. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to create a name that was "a little catchier than 'IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence.' " Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name "Wi-Fi," has stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a pun upon the word hi-fi. Interbrand also created the Wi-Fi logo.


Vic Hayes has been called the "father of Wi-Fi" because he chaired the IEEE committee that created the 802.11 standards in 1997. Before the public even heard of WiFi, Hayes established the standards that would make WiFi feasible. The 802.11 standard was established in 1997. Subsequently, improvements to the network bandwidth were added to the 802.11 standards. These include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and more. That's what the appended letters represent. As a consumer, you should know that the latest version is the best version in terms of performance and is the version you would want all your new equipment to be compatible with. So thanks to these legends for such a great discovery.

Paving the Airwaves for Wi-Fi, Business Week 2003

Definition: 802.11


A brief history of Wi-Fi

Wireless Revolution: The History of WiFi
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