It is super sweet and enjoyable to watch videos and stream from the comfort of one’s bed, chat friends up from the sofa or watch the world news from the bathroom seems to us something that is normal.
The fact remains that until very recently all of these are unthinkable. Thanks to the wireless networks that allowed this great step, and, specifically, the wireless WiFi network, created today just 20 years ago.
The WiFi technology was born in 1999 and today 30 Billion devices use it to connect to the Web
It is amazing that today marks the twentieth anniversary of the birth of WiFi technology and the WiFi Alliance, the company in charge of its management and development. From the creation of WiFi to the development of its latest standard, WiFi 6, this system is currently used by 30 billion devices across the Globe.
Coinciding with this event, the Wireless Broadband Alliance celebrates World Wi-Fi Day on Thursday, which aims to help install wireless networks in all those places in the world that are not yet connected to it.
How did we get here? The truth is that Wi-Fi was born in 1999 with the 802.11a standard -a standard defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, IEEE-.
Some of its most outstanding milestones were its introduction for the first time in 2004 in a commercial aircraft, or, 5 years later, the consolidation of WiFi with more than 1,000 million users who already enjoyed it in their devices.
In these last two decades, WiFi connectivity has changed a lot. The 802.11a standard – with which it was born – was followed by the 802.11b (WiFi 2), 802.11g (WiFi 3) and 802.11n (WiFi 4) standards.
What do these numbers refer to?
These are updates with increasingly high transmission speeds. Of the 11 megabits per second (Mbps) of WiFi 2 was passed to transmissions of up to 600 Mbps of WiFi 4.
Currently, the most widespread WiFi standard is 802.11ac, also known as WiFi 5, the version that has introduced the era of a gigabit per second (Gbps), whose transmission speed can theoretically reach 6.9 Gbps.
This increase is possible thanks to a greater bandwidth in the transmission channels (up to 160 MHz) and up to eight antennas that can respond at the same time.
The standard, which uses the frequency bands of 2, 4 and 5 GHz, allows sending and receiving more data to it, an improvement that, added to the previous ones, makes the theoretical data transfers remain very close to 10 Gbps.
The next step in the evolution of WiFi is 802.11ax, known as Wi-Fi 6. This standard was first announced in January 2019 and we expected it to reach the first device anytime soon.