Wi-Fi uses both single carrier direct sequence spread spectrum radio technology (part of the larger family of spread spectrum systems) and multi-carrier OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) radio technology. The regulations for unlicensed spread spectrum enabled the development of Wi-Fi, its onetime competitor HomeRF, Bluetooth, and many other products such as some types of cordless telephones.
Unlicensed spread spectrum was first made available in the US by the Federal Communications Commission in 1985 and these FCC regulations were later copied with some changes in many other countries enabling use of this technology in all major countries. The FCC action was proposed by Michael Marcus of the FCC staff in 1980 and the subsequent regulatory action took 5 more years. It was part of a broader proposal to allow civil use of spread spectrum technology and was opposed at the time by mainstream equipment manufacturers and many radio system operators.
The precursor to Wi-Fi was invented in 1991 by NCR Corporation/AT&T (later Lucent & Agere Systems) in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands. It was initially intended for cashier systems; the first wireless products were brought on the market under the name WaveLAN with speeds of 1 Mbit/s to 2 Mbit/s. Vic Hayes, who held the chair of IEEE 802.11 for 10 years and has been named the ‘father of Wi-Fi,’ was involved in designing standards such as IEEE 802.11b, and 802.11a. The original patents behind 802.11 Wi-Fi technologies, filed in 1996, are held by the CSIRO, an Australian research body. The patents have been the subject of protracted and on-going legal battles between the CSIRO and major IT corporations over the non-payment of royalties. In 2009 the CSIRO reached a settlement with 14 companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Dell, Toshiba, ASUS, Microsoft and Nintendo, on the condition that the CSIRO did not broadcast the resolution.
Wi-Fi allows local area networks (LANs) to be deployed without wires for client devices, typically reducing the costs of network deployment and expansion. Spaces where cables cannot be run, such as outdoor areas and historical buildings, can host wireless LANs.
Wireless network adapters are now built into most laptops. The price of chipsets for Wi-Fi continues to drop, making it an economical networking option included in even more devices. Wi-Fi has become widespread in corporate infrastructures.
Wi-Fi is widely available in more than 220,000 public hotspots and tens of millions of homes and corporate and university campuses worldwide. The current version of Wi-Fi Protected Access encryption (WPA2) is not easily defeated, provided strong passwords are used. New protocols for Quality of Service (WMM) make Wi-Fi more suitable for latency-sensitive applications (such as voice and video), and power saving mechanisms (WMM Power Save) improve battery operation.
We design and deliver wireless solutions that meet your needs. From the intended use of the system to the environment in which the network will operate, we take everything into consideration.
If you need, we can seamlessly integrate a wireless local area network (WLAN) into your existing network infrastructure, providing your organisation with a high-speed, secure wireless network to make your workspace more flexible.
Whether you need an internal WLAN network, a wireless hotspot, external point-to-point links, or point-to-multipoint meshed systems (for campus and metropolitan environments) we can help.
Prior to any network being designed, we undertake a comprehensive survey of the building, which we share with you. We use the latest industry tools and techniques to map out the wireless area and ensure sufficient coverage for the required areas is built-in – including the provision for failed access points.
We work with a number of suppliers, which means we can choose the right devices for you. By doing this we can guarantee the solution against your individual requirements for resilience, bandwidth and coverage, making your wireless network more reliable and secure.
Whether the building has a single network, or a number of virtual LANs with differing access rights and security levels, we work with your security policy to ensure the wireless network is as secure – if not more so – than its cabled counterpart.
Upon completion we immediately perform a final wireless site survey so we can check the initial network design matches your requirements. This also ensures any problems can be resolved straight away.