Home Business IT Networking 20 years of WiFi: from 1Mbps to 5000Mbps in two decades


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The IEEE's 802.11 working group was created in September 1990 to develop the first WiFi standard, delivering 1Mbps. Its next iteration will be capable of 5Gbps.

Working Group chairman, Bruce Kraemer, said: "The standards produced by the IEEE 802.11 Working Group have provided untethered, low cost, high rate data communications that dramatically influence our everyday lives and will continue to do so well into the future. The high quality and broad commercial acceptance of the IEEE 802.11 standard is a testament to all of the members' dedication, innovation, and vision."

The most recent standard to come from the 802.11 working group was 802.11n finalised in 2009. Equipment conforming to it is now achieving throughputs of 600Mbps.

As part of 802.11's efforts to increase data rates to 5Gbps, the 802.11ac task group is working to extend IEEE 802.11n-like capabilities in the 5GHz spectrum and the IEEE 802.11ad task group is developing an extension to 802.11n for operation at 60GHz.

Other projects underway will provide dynamic management of the air interface, adaptations for vehicular use, mesh operation, interworking with cellular systems, and peer-to-peer link establishment.

The IEEE says that, in addition to working at greater throughput, the IEEE 802.11 working group is addressing aspects such as more efficient use of the radio spectrum, more advanced security, quality of service over the air interface, and special regional extensions for Europe and Japan to meet their regulatory requirements for short-range radio equipment.

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