15 Years of Wi-Fi

In 2014, Wi-Fi Alliance® celebrated 15 years of connecting people and improving everyday lives with Wi-Fi®. Interoperability, ease of use, and innovation have made Wi-Fi one of the greatest success stories of the last century, and Wi-Fi Alliance has an extensive roadmap to carry the technology well into the future. Since its founding in 1999, the industry organization has been delivering on its vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere - evolving its technologies and certification programs to keep pace with the requirements of today’s connected world.

A culture of collaboration

Founded by six companies to develop and validate multi-vendor interoperability, Wi-Fi Alliance has grown into an organization of nearly 650 companies and a driving force in Wi-Fi’s ascent to one of the world’s most-loved and widely used technologies. With billions of devices in use today, Wi-Fi exemplifies the value of industry-wide standards and multi-vendor collaboration to support technology adoption.

A great technology

Wi-Fi’s evolution since 1999 has been marked by continued advancement and a commitment to legacy interoperability. Far from the original 11 Mbps data rate offered in the first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ products, today’s most advanced Wi-Fi devices can deliver as much as 1 Gbps of data rate when communicating with other current-generation technology, and can also connect to legacy devices – preserving value for users over the long term. Just a few years after its proliferation in laptops and access points, and propelled by Wi-Fi Alliance technologies addressing ease of use and quality of service, Wi-Fi proliferated in smartphones and consumer electronics. Device-to-device connectivity was introduced with Wi-Fi Direct®, easy-to-use display with Miracast®, and seamless access to Wi-Fi hotspots with Passpoint™.

An exciting future

The Wi-Fi Alliance roadmap features a number of key elements that will support the proliferation of the organization’s certified technologies into a number of new segments and applications.

  • New frequency bands will deliver just the right kind of connection. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig™ will deliver interoperable products supporting multiple-gigabit data rates for room-range connectivity in 60 GHz in 2016. Wi-Fi Alliance has also begun work to define certification programs based on 802.11ah and 802.11af, for operation below 1 GHz to support longer-range, very-low-power connectivity.
  • Wi-Fi will connect new types of devices to each other and the internet. With the Internet of Everything emerging as the next major wave of connected innovation, Wi-Fi’s reach will extend into the smart home, connected cars, sensing and control networks, and much more. Already the technology of choice for its long-lived compatibility and robust security, advances in power management, ease of use, and common foundations for service discovery and enablement are setting the stage for massive growth of the Wi-Fi Internet of Everything.
  • Core Wi-Fi technologies will continue to advance. The Wi-Fi that consumers and enterprises have come to rely on every day keeps getting better. Wi-Fi Alliance members are bringing new power saving mechanisms to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products, improving the mobility experience, and much more. An update to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac, the most advanced Wi-Fi available, will validate interoperability of several performance-enhancing features in late 2015.

  • 15 years of Wi-Fi
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