Currently, connecting to the Internet is practically synonymous with doing it to a WiFi point, with the permission of mobile connectivity. WiFi has been responsible for making the Internet available beyond a mere Ethernet cable. For years we have been able to connect dozens of devices to the Internet through the WiFi of, for example, your Movistar Router.
But although WiFi is a technology that we use daily and at all hours, not everyone knows its origin or some of the curiosities of WiFi that make it not only a useful tool but also a fascinating story to read and to tell anyone. We have previously covered several of the most widespread WiFi myths. And we have also talked about its most recent version, the WiFi 6. Next, we list these and other WiFi curiosities to get to know it better.
We cannot talk about WiFi curiosities without looking at its origin
Wikipedia says that the wireless connection we know as WiFi was born from the union of several companies in the communications sector. In 1999, iconic names such as 3Com, Lucent, Nokia or Symbol Technologies created the WECA, an acronym for Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, or in Spanish, Alliance for the Compatibility of a Wireless Ethernet.
As the name suggests, they wanted to create a wireless technology that would allow connecting devices without the need for cables. In April 2000 they will launch their first version of this technology, which we will all know under the name WiFi and which at a technical level was called IEEE 802.11b. An industry standard that would change everything.
However, to get there, others had to do some of the work. As with many important inventions, there is no single responsible party. And if we talk about WiFi curiosities, the name of Hedy Lamarr always comes up, a Hollywood actress who participated in more than 30 titles and who in 1942 patented a signal modulation technique together with the composer George Antheil. It was originally intended to be a secret communication system for use in times of war, but it laid the foundation for wireless technologies as popular today as Bluetooth and WiFi.
In 1971, the University of Hawaii implemented this technology to connect a computer network, ALOHAnet. Hawaii is an archipelago, so connecting its islands by cables is very difficult. With this project, they were able to send data packets through UHF waves, laying the foundations for technologies such as Ethernet and WiFi.
Finally, in 1991, NCR and AT&T created a technology called WaveLAN designed to communicate with ATMs without wires. From here arise the bases of the protocol that we will know technically as IEEE 802.11.
Who is the owner of this wireless connection
Patents attest to who owns or owns a technology. They can be in the hands of individuals or companies or academic or public institutions.
With the purpose of standardizing the WiFi wireless connection, the WECA, which became known as the Wi-Fi Alliance or Wi-Fi Alliance, is in charge of defining how WiFi works and defining its standard, which we know as IEEE 802.11.
Hence, the patents associated with this technology are owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance, within which practically all companies related directly or indirectly to this wireless connection are represented.
A gibberish of letters and numbers
We have said several times that what we all call WiFi is technically known as IEEE 802.11. IEEE is the acronym for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an international body that defines and certifies technologies such as WiFi itself.
Over the years, the WiFi wireless connection has evolved to offer ever-increasing speeds and other functions, such as maintaining a consistent connection, managing more devices at the same time, etc. Thus, the first WiFi was called IEEE 802.11b and the following were adding the letters of the alphabet.