History of Wireless Networks  


           Heinrich Herz discovered and first produced radio waves in 1888 and by 1894 the modern way to send a message over telegraph wires was first conducted.   Marconi sent and received signals up to two miles using radio waves.  Marconi became known as the “father of radio”.  By 1899, Marconi sent a signal nine miles across the Bristol Channel and 31 miles across the English Channel to France.  In 1901 he was able to transmit across the Atlantic Ocean.


During World War II, the United States Army first used radio signals for data transmission.  This inspired a group of researchers in 1971 at the University of Hawaii to create the first packet based radio communications network called ALOHNET.  ALOHNET was the very first wireless local area network (WLAN). This first WLAN consisted of 7 computers that communicated in a bi-directional star topology. 


The first generation of WLAN technology used an unlicensed band (902-928 MHz ISM), which later became crowded with interference from small appliances and industrial machinery. A spread spectrum was used to minimize this interference, which operated at 500 kilobits per second.   The second generation of WLAN technology was four times faster and operating at 2Mbps per second.  Third generation WLAN technology operates on the same band as the second generation and we currently use it today.

 In 1990, the IEEE 802 Executive Committee established the 802.11 Working Group to create a wireless local area network (WLAN) standard. The standard specified an operating frequency in the 2.4GHz ISM band. In 1997 the group approved IEEE 802.11 as the world's first WLAN standard with data rates of 1 and 2 Mbps.






Compiled by: Tammie Runnels (October, 2005)

History of Wireless Networks