History of Wi-Fi
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a technology that allows terminals such as PCs and portable devices (such as tablets and smartphones) to connect to the network in wireless mode. It is supported by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
The Wi-Fi technology has been popular since its inception. Its development history is as follows:
- In 1885, Hertz discovered radio waves.
- In 1894, Marconi started a preliminary test on long-distance wireless transmission and reception.
- In 1971, researchers at the University of Hawaii created the first packet-based radio communications network named ALOHNET.
- In 1985, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed experimental commercial frequency extension applications on the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) radio bands, marking a milestone of commercial wireless local area network (WLAN) development.
- In 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance was established.
- In 2000, the Wi-Fi network technology was put into commercial use. Due to immature security standards and high independent operation costs, the Wi-Fi network technology immediately underwent a downturn.
- In 2003, carriers began to pay close attention to Wi-Fi. By integrating with legacy networks, they positioned Wi-Fi as a supplement to fixed broadband. This mobile mode improved broadband experience and gained a quick success. From then on, Wi-Fi development accelerated.
Maturity (2008 to now)
- In 2008, the 3G technology developed rapidly. In the new market environment where opportunities and challenges coexisted, Wi-Fi showed new vitality and gained further development.
- Now, after decades of development, Wi-Fi has become an indispensable network coverage mode.
- In future, Wi-Fi will be available in every corner of a city.
Wi-Fi vs. WLAN
Wi-Fi and WLAN are displayed on terminal devices such as ONTs, smartphones, and PCs. Curious about the differences between Wi-Fi and WLAN? Well, wonder no more.
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a certified brand for a wireless network communication technology based on IEEE 802.11 standards. It aims to improve communication between wireless network products based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi-Fi allows terminals such as PCs and portable devices (such as pads and smartphones) to connect to each other in wireless mode. It is introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
A wireless local area network (WLAN) transmits data by using the radio frequency (RF) technique. The WLAN technology supplements and does not replace wired LAN. It achieves network extension. It uses simple access architecture but achieves remote network connections without network cables.
WLAN uses Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) radio frequency bands for communication. It involves the following protocols: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax,and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).
1. From the aspect of definition, WLAN is a function, while Wi-Fi is a commercial certification standard included in WLAN. Wi-Fi is the most widely used WLAN standard. For example, a smartphone with Wi-Fi certified supports the WLAN function in compliance with the Wi-Fi standard.
The following table describes Wi-Fi support and WLAN standards.
|Wi-Fi frequency band||Compatibility with Other 802.11 Standards|
|1999||802.11a||5 GHz Wi-Fi||Incompatible|
|1999||802.11b||2.4 GHz Wi-Fi||Incompatible|
|2003||802.11g||2.4 GHz Wi-Fi||Compatible with 802.11b|
|2009||802.11n||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz Wi-Fi||Compatible with 802.11a/b/g|
|2013||802.11ac||5 GHz Wi-Fi||Compatible with 802.11a/n|
|2019||802.11ax||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz Wi-Fi||Compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
2. From the aspect of coverage, Wi-Fi is smaller than WLAN. Like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi is unavailable in areas far away from the transmitter. Generally, Wi-Fi coverage is about 90 m, while WLAN coverage (with antennas) can reach up to 5 km.