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The History of Wi-Fi

The History of Wi-Fi
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The History of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a relatively new type of technology that is just
starting to attract a wide following worldwide. Some
consider it to be one of the most significant innovations
in technology since the internet came to the mainstream.

Because of it, computers are now able to connect to the
internet and to other computers wirelessly.

The precursor of today’s Wi-Fi was developed sometime in
the early 1990s by the Netherlands-based company NCR
Corporation/AT&T (which later became known as Lucent &
Agere Systems). Called WaveLAN, it was originally intended
to be used in cash registers.

Several competing standards prevented the immediate success
of having wireless networks. However, with the development
of the IEEE 802.11 standard and the release of its first
protocol in 1997, this technology slowly but surely came
into the mainstream.

Since then, several protocols were released and several
more will be released to address issues such as range and
speed.

The first protocol released in 1997, now known as the
Legacy mode, operated in the 2.4 GHz frequency. The
throughput and data rate are slow by today’s standards,
with only 0.9 and 2 Mbit/s, respectively. 802.11 a and b
came two years later in 1999 with the a protocol offering
faster speeds while the b provided a wider range.

The elements of the two were later merged in 2003 when the
802.11g protocol was released. The new protocol offered the
speed of the a and the range of the b.

Newer protocols are currently under development. The n, set
to be released mid-2009 provides greater speeds and almost
double the range of the a/b/g protocols. Another one, the
802.11y, is set to be released in mid-2008 has the same
speed as the g protocol although the y has an outdoor range
of as much as 5 kilometers.

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