Mobile networks has evolved at a rapid rate during the digital age, with 5G connectivity set to hit the consumer mainstream at some point next year.
While Apple has confirmed that it will skip the next generation wireless service in their 2019 iPhone, a number of Android manufactures have made it clear that they’ll present at least one 5G offering by the summer of 2019.
This technology has a long way to go before it matches the reach and reliability of Wi-Fi, however, which has a long and rich history dating back to its inception. We’ll chart this below, while asking what’s next for the future.
Charting the History of Wi-Fi
Make no mistake; the history of Wi-Fi is long and interesting, and one that can be traced back to the early 1970s.
In 1971, it was ALOHAnet that strived to connect the Hawaiian Islands with a primitive, UHF wireless packet network. This prototype protocol (along with ALOHA) was an early forerunner to the Ethernet, and the type of networks that evolved during the age of the Internet.
This work inspired Vic Hayes, who’s renowned as the “Godfather of Wi-Fi” and a man who laid the foundations for the type of connectivity that we experience today. In 1984, he joined NCR Corp. and commenced research into wireless network technology, with an ISM band released for unlicensed use the following year.
The rate of technological advancement behind this technology gathered considerable momentum during the 1990s, as the Hayes’ NCR Corp. collaborated with AT&T Corporation and created a precursor to the 802.11 protocol. This heralded the world’s first wireless products under the WaveLan brand, which have paved the way for the innovations that we see today.
The much-vaunted 802.11 protocol was finally released in 1997, with the world-renowned Wi-Fi trademark and alliance entering the mainstream two years later.
Modern Day Developments and the Future of Wi-Fi
We’ve seen numerous updates to Wi-Fi protocols and products during the last 18 years, with prominent brands such as redcentric driving this evolution.
We saw a major development in the form of outdoor grade Wi-Fi and public hotspots, which are growing both in terms of their capacity and number. This technology typically includes proprietary extensions such as Mesh and similar features, which allow users to access Wi-Fi even when they’re outdoors.
It’s also possible for users to connect with these hotspots and networks securely in the modern age, and this is a major consideration for users who want to protect their data and sensitive information.
This is part of a wider drive to make the Internet more accessible to people across the globe, with the county of Albany in New York striving to invest in Wi-Fi equipment and IoT technology that can extend services city-wide.