IEEE 802.11 Working Group, on its way to 5 Gbps, celebrates 20 years of progress in wireless LANs

The IEEE Standards Association recognizes 20 years of progress in IEEE 802.11.

IEEE 802.11 Wireless Milestones:

  • September 1990 – IEEE 802.11 project initiated with the concept of creating a WLAN standard for shared local communications interworking with the successful wired IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet) product
  • 1997 – Standard released, supported 2 Mb/s data rates in the 2.4 GHz band
  • 1999 – Improvements were added for increased data rates in the 2.4 GHz band and availability in the 5 GHz band
  • 1999-2009 -The IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN blossomed in the home market. Also, users started to apply the devices to build community networks where incumbent telecommunications providers did not offer service
  • 2009 – The IEEE 802.11n amendment provided another ten-fold increase in data rate (now peaking at 600 Mb/s) and added other radio range extension enhancements such as beamsteering
  • 2010 and Beyond – The IEEE 802.11 Working Group celebrates 20 years of achievements
  • IEEE 802.11 is working to increase data rates another ten-fold, to 5 Gb/s
  • IEEE 802.11ac task group will extend IEEE 802.11n-like capabilities in the 5 GHz spectrum
  • IEEE 802.11ad task group will develop an extension for operation at 60 GHz
  • 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