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The Wireless Connection

Wireless technology has changed the way the world connects

The Wireless Connection
The Wireless Connection

Everywhere you look, people are on the move. Not that long ago, they were tied to their desks for work, stuck at home waiting for phone calls, and did most things manually. Today, however, work can be completed wherever a person roams, phone calls can be taken from a car, and Alexa is flipping light switches from whispered voice commands.

It seems like the world has gone wireless overnight.

Wireless Connections Changed The World

Advancements like these are due in large part to the continual improvement of wireless networking technology standards. When the first generation (1G) of wireless cellular technology was introduced in the early 1980s, it powered cell phones that strictly handled voice calls for analog mobile phones.

The success and popularity of those simple phones drove innovation and the human desire to do more from anywhere launched a revolution that brought us to today's world, where people can stay connected to one another even from mountaintops or when flying in airplanes.

Wi-Fi technology, which is how most of your devices at home get their access to the internet, has grown by leaps and bound over the years, too. It began in the 1980s as a technology designed for wireless cash registers called WaveLAN. That technology was developed and shared with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) group responsible for networking standards, known as committee 802.

The technology was further developed during the 1990s until the committee published standard 802.11 in 1997. The initial form of Wi-Fi from that 1997 standard supported only 2 Mbps connections.

It was not officially known as “Wi-Fi” from the beginning either; that term was coined only a few years ago as its popularity increased. An industry standards group has continued to evolve the standard ever since, generating a family of new versions of Wi-Fi called successively 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and so on. The next generation of Wi-Fi will be called Wi-Fi 6, which will offer internet speeds as fast as 9.6 Gbps (a boost from the current Wi-Fi 5 speeds of 3.5 Gbps).

With speeds like that, networks around the globe can handle more and more devices and connections. That means every home could theoretically have an average of 50 or so Wi-Fi devices working easily together, up from a 2019 average of 9 devices. Imagine Google Assistant in every room, streaming devices for every television, PCs or laptops downloading movies or files in split second: That's convenience, and it can all be powered wirelessly.

The Current Status Of Wireless Technology

The fourth generation of wireless networking standards (4G) launched the smartphone generation: A world where people carry small, portable computers in their pockets and purses that can not only make phone calls but stream movies, music and live television and get their work done using programs that, in the past, were only available on a computer tethered to a desk.

Some believe the world is standing on the edge of an advancement in wireless technology that is so innovative, though, that it puts 4G to shame. Called 5G, the fifth generation of wireless networking standards promises significantly faster data rates, higher connection density, much lower latency, energy savings, and the potential for humans to evolve into yet another new world that is so amazing in theory that most of us can't even imagine the possibilities. Pair that with Wi-Fi 6, and the imagination of science fiction writers inches closer to reality.

Where Wireless Is Headed

Wireless providers envision a future where this technology continues to connect us to the world around us and make our lives easier every day. They are working hard to create a world where everyone, regardless of location, can come together to build a future that can truly take advantage of other advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more.

Learn more about it and how it impacts you by selecting articles from the menu on the left. Discover what 'wireless' really means, how it works, ways you can use it in your own life, and what's coming. The future of wireless is pretty amazing and the next generation of it is heading to your town soon.