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On the 20th anniversary of Wi-Fi technology, Cisco talked about 20 significant events and facts in the history of this technology. The manufacturer of network equipment also reported on the impact of wireless local area networks on modern life and prospects for the coming years.

Wi-Fi is considered birthday on September 30, 1999, when the first commercial products with support for 802.11b wireless networks appeared on the market. However, the birth of this technology began almost 30 years earlier. 

“Today, Wi-Fi is one of the fastest growing network technologies. Thanks to her, Internet access has become ubiquitous. As a result, users around the world have become available a new level of mobility, convenience and productivity. Wi-Fi networks have turned our approach to work, leisure and life in general, ”said Julia Andrianova, Cisco Corporate Solutions Development Manager.

Wi-Fi development history and technology prospects:

1971. The Emergence of Wi-Fi Technology. At the University of Hawaii, the ALOHAnet network system was created, which became the basis for the further development of wireless communications and for the emergence of Wi-Fi networks.

1997. The 802.11 standard is adopted. The first version of the 802.11 standard was oriented at speeds up to 2 Mbps.

1999. Establishment of the WECA Alliance. Several technology companies, including Aironet, later acquired by Cisco, have formed the WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance). In 2002, the WECA alliance changed its name to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

1999. 802.11b is the first Wi-Fi standard. For the first time in introducing the 802.11b standard, the name Wi-Fi sounded. It is believed that the 802.11b standard, surpassing its predecessor 802.11 in speed and ease of use, ushered in the Wi-Fi revolution.

1999-2000. The first commercial devices with 802.11b support appear. Wi-Fi technology is embedded in commercial devices, including popular laptops.

2002. Cisco gives an impetus to the development of the entire industry. The Cisco Compatible eXtensions free licensing program began, thanks to which Wi-Fi products of various vendors were able to work with Cisco wireless networks while maintaining a high level of information security.

2004. Wi-Fi in the sky. For the first time, passengers on a commercial flight are offered Wi-Fi access.

2005. Wi-Fi appears in dictionaries. The word “Wi-Fi” is included in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

2009. The 802.11n standard revolutionizes the industry. Introduced the new standard 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4). Thanks to MIMO technology, in which several antennas support multiple data streams, the maximum transmission speed according to the 802.11n standard has increased by almost 9 times (450 Mbps compared to 54 Mbps).

2010. A new wave of Cisco innovation. Aironet 3500 access points incorporate Cisco CleanAir technology, which automatically detects radio interference and redirects users to less busy channels.

2011. Access points are gaining popularity. The number of Wi-Fi access points in the world has exceeded one million.

2012. Wi-Fi comes to every home. A quarter of the world’s households are connected to Wi-Fi.

2013. The 802.11ac standard – more speed. Introduced standard 802.11ac, which provides transmission speeds of more than 1 Gb / s.

2015. Wi-Fi enters our lives. A survey by IDC showed that among what people wouldn’t want to do without, Wi-Fi took second place. Moreover, 18% of respondents put it in first place. Only food with 30% percent turned out to be higher.

2018. Wi-Fi is one of the most important drivers of the economy. The global economic value of Wi-Fi technology has reached $ 2 trillion.

2018. 13 billion Wi-Fi devices. There are about 13 billion Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets in the world — or nearly 2 Wi-Fi devices per capita.

2019. Wi-Fi 6 appears. Wi-Fi 6 technology is introduced with support for speeds up to 5 Gb / s. Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technologies are built on the same foundation and are seen as complementary. At the same time, Wi-Fi 6 loads the batteries of connected devices less and is generally more reliable. Cisco has announced the Cisco OpenRoaming project, which aims to facilitate seamless secure roaming between Wi-Fi and LTE networks and connect to public Wi-Fi networks.

2021. A further increase in the number of access points is projected. According to Cisco, the number of access points in the world will grow 500 times compared with the past decade and exceed 500 million.

2022. The increase in speed will continue. According to forecasts, the average Wi-Fi connection speed in the world will reach 54.2 Mbit / s, in 2017 it was 24.4 Mbit / s.

2022. Wi-Fi will become the Internet driver of the future. At this point, Wi-Fi will become the dominant way to access the Internet. According to the forecast published in the Cisco VNI report, 59% of Internet traffic will pass through Wi-Fi networks.