World Facts

Who Invented WiFi?

Australia Dr. John O'Sullivan is credited with developing the technology that eventually led to the WiFi we know today.

Dr. John O'Sullivan, an Australian engineer, is credited with leading the team of inventors who developed WiFi technology. However, like other inventions of this size, there were several other people who also contributed to its development. The invention of WiFi was gradual, and its function was first conceived of in the 1970s. Improvements to WiFi internet technology continue to take place today.

The term WiFi is thought to have originated as an acronym of the Wireless Fidelity Alliance (which was later known as the Wi-Fi Alliance), an organization that is involved in the testing of Wi-Fi gadgets to ascertain that they comply with set standards.

Dr. John O’Sullivan

Dr. O’Sullivan is credited with the development of a technology that resulted in wireless LAN becoming reliable and faster. The technology was instrumental in the invention of WiFi, earning Dr. O’Sullivan, and his team of engineers, credit for pioneering the development of Wi-Fi technology. Born in Australia, the engineer received his university education at Sydney University. O'Sullivan made his revolutionary invention while working in the Netherlands’ Dwingeloo Radio Observatory in 1977.

Dr. O’Sullivan is well-respected for his input in the development of WiFi technology and has received several accolades for his work. One of the engineer’s most prestigious awards was the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science that he received in 2009. In 2012, Dr. O’Sullivan became a fellow at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. The same year, the European Patent Office awarded the engineer with the European Inventor Award. In 2017, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) awarded Dr. O’Sullivan with its Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronic Award for his contribution to the development of WiFi technology.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

The IEEE is a New York-based professional association. Formed back in 1963, the association is the largest of its kind and brings together technical professionals from all over the world. Presently, the membership of the association stands at over 0.42 million technicians drawn from more than 160 nations globally. The IEEE is mandated with coming up with industry standards that technology companies should comply with. One such industry standard is the IEEE 802.11b, which is compatible with all Wi-Fi products. The WiFi Alliance handles testing of the WiFi products to determine compliance with the IEEE 802.11b standard.

The Wi-Fi Alliance

The WiFi Alliance is an organization based in Austin, Texas that is involved in WiFi technology and the certification of WiFi gadgets. The non-profit organization owns the well-known WiFi trademark, which should be displayed in all WiFi products that conform to the set IEEE standards. The organization was established in 1999 as WECA, an acronym for the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance after top technological companies found a gap in the provision of testing of technological equipment to determine the equipment that adhered to the standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Some of the companies that were behind the formation of WECA include Aironet, Nokia, and Intersil. In 2002, the organization was renamed as the WiFi Alliance.

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