How Has Wi-Fi Changed Over the Years?

How Has Wi-Fi Changed Over the Years?
How Has Wi-Fi Changed Over the Years?

Wi-Fi is a modern-day necessity, connecting hundreds of millions of devices across the globe every day.

While it is widely utilized nowadays, the technology has a long history. Let’s take a look at the history and evolution of W-iFi.

What DoesWi-Fi Mean?

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows devices to connect to the internet. It, like other kinds of communications, sends and receives data via electromagnetic waves. A single Wi-Fi connection may connect to several devices, making it very flexible.

Wi-Fi primarily covers two signal bands, which we will examine more below.

2.4GHz vs. 5GHz

The lower energy band, 2.4 gigahertz (GHz), was the first to be utilized when Wi-Fi was officially developed. It’s ideal for covering huge areas and for passing through walls and windows. 2.4GHz is still a prominent frequency band today.

Though it provides the greatest coverage, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi is more susceptible to interference. This band is used by many different sorts of devices, making it very simple for the connection to slow down when there are many devices present.

The 5GHz band was introduced subsequently. Users might get a quicker maximum speed using 5GHz. According to CenturyLink, 2.4GHz has a maximum connection speed of roughly 150 megabits per second (Mbps), whereas 5GHz has a maximum connection speed of about 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).Furthermore, since that band is not used by many other devices, it is less likely to get congested.

Even though 5GHz offers a quicker connection speed, it does not provide the optimum coverage. A 5GHz signal also has a significantly tougher time passing through barriers.

AlohaNet: The Precursor to Wi-Fi

Wi-history Fi’s started with AlohaNet. As computer technology advanced in the late 1960s, so did the need to transfer data across computers. The demand was great enough for faculty members at the University of Hawaii to get together and devise a method for connecting computers.

This institution was dispersed over eight separate sites around the state in the late 1960s. The faculty members of the Electric Engineering department met in September 1968. They discussed a route to the university’s computers, with the main campus serving as the focal center.

AlohaNet was established in 1971. The computer was linked to the main campus’ IBM computer through a separate piece of gear known as the Terminal Control Unit (TCU). AlohaNet was established in 1973 to link NASA in California, as well as numerous colleges in and outside of the United States.

Related: What Does Wi-Fi Stand For?

Building on AlohaNnet’s Early Success

The AlohaNet network increased in popularity and played an important role in the development of several technologies. Following the 1970s, various additional significant technologies were developed that contributed to Wi-Fi becoming what it is today.

The most important ones are listed below.

ISM Bands

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established particular unlicensed transmission bands for various industrial, scientific, and medical applications in 1985. They are known as ISM bands, and there are three of them: 902-928 MHz, 2400-2483.5 MHz, and 5725-5850 MHz. If the latter two seem familiar, it’s because those are the two signal bands used by today’s Wi-Fi.

Because these bands are unlicensed, they may be freely exploited by other technologies. Bluetooth, like baby monitors and microwave ovens, works in the 2.4GHz band.


When AT&T purchased NCR Systems Engineering in 1991, wireless technologies evolved once further. They developed WaveLAN, a wireless networking technical standard. This was employed in a variety of devices, beginning with cash registers.

WaveLAN cards were available for users to install in their PCs or laptops in order to connect to the access point.

WaveLAN was a prevalent technology throughout the decade. With its measured 1.5Mbps speed, it creeps in comparison to today’s standards. It did, however, have a range of roughly 80 feet, which isn’t too awful.

The 802.11 Standard

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) created the 802.11 wireless communication standard in 1997. This standard-compliant devices might be used to connect to the internet wirelessly. Connections utilizing the 802.11 standard were either 1Mbps or 2Mbps in speed.

Since its establishment, the standard has been revised multiple times. Each modification increased the connection’s max speed. They were identified by a letter (or occasionally two letters) that came after 802.11.

Two such changes were made in 1999, raising the peak speed of the connection. They both went live at the same moment. 802.11a used the 5GHz band and had a maximum speed of 54Mbps. 802.11b, on the other hand, operated on the 2.4GHz frequency spectrum and had a maximum throughput of 11Mbps.

How Has Wi-Fi Progressed in the 21st Century?

Despite the fact that the 802.11 standard was developed in 1997, the term “Wi-Fi” was not coined until the summer of 1999. The Wi-Fi Alliance commissioned Interbrand, a multinational brand consultancy firm, to create the name.

Wi-Fi became more popular in the early 2000s, with more homes and businesses adopting it as time passed. Wi-Fi speeds increased to 600Mbps with the introduction of 802.11g in 2009, more than 11 times the previous speed of 54 Mbps. Wi-Fi passed the 1Gbps barrier in 2013 with 802.11ac.

Wi-Fi Today and Tomorrow

The most recent Wi-Fi innovation is 802.11ax, often known as Wi-Fi 6, which was introduced in 2019. It supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The 5GHz band has a speed limit of little over 1Gbps. The 2.4GHz band is capable of reaching rates of up to 450Mbps.

If you want to learn more about 6GHz Wi-Fi, we’ve put up a useful guide on the subject.

In terms of Wi-future, Fi’s The Wi-Fi Alliance revealed that they are working on Wi-Fi 7. (802.11be).However, this new technology is still in its early phases.

It’s Been a Long Road, but Wi-Fi Is Still Evolving

Since the days of AlohaNet, Wi-Fi has come a long way. It began as a way to link college computers and has evolved into one of the most crucial technologies in many of our lives today.

Despite having gone a long way, the road is far from done. We will be looking at Wi-Fi that is faster than anything we’ve ever seen in just a few years. And who knows how far this technology can be pushed?

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