The History of WiFi

Believe it or not, there was a time when if you wanted to get on the Internet your only option was to have a phone cable or Ethernet cable plugged directly into your computer or laptop. Today, you have the option of sitting in any room in your house cord-free, or even hopping down to your local coffee shop and surfing the Web with relative ease. This seemingly miraculous ability is possible thanks to wireless local area networks, or WLANs. Commonly dubbed Wi-Fi, this advancement allows high-speed data transfers across limited space. But where did it come from?


In 1985, the technology called 802.11 was made available for use due to a U.S. Federal Communication Commission ruling, which released the three bands of the radio spectrum now used for nearly all wireless communication: 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz. Shortly thereafter the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the Wi-Fi Alliance (originally called WECA or the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance) were formed to help develop and regulate wireless technology worldwide.


When the IEEE was formed in 1990, they chose Vic Hayes, also popularly known as the “Father of Wi-Fi,” as its chairman. For the next ten years, Hayes helped direct the development of new wireless protocols as well as market the technology worldwide. His leadership and progressive thinking allowed the Wi-Fi Alliance to spearhead the regulation and widespread use of wireless technology.



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