25 years of WiFi

Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) founded on 20 June 1999

The organisation for the standardisation and certification of products for wireless data transmission in accordance with the IEEE 802.11 standard, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), based in Austin, Texas, was founded 25 years ago on 20 June 1999. The IEEE 802.11 standards are the basis for wireless local area networks (WLAN), often simply referred to as WiFi, which have rapidly established themselves since their foundation.

Wireless and true

The term WiFi is a combination of “wireless” (wireless) and “fidelity” (fidelity). It has been used commercially since 1999, as IEEE-802.11 seemed unwieldy and unsuitable for the market. Accordingly, the organisation WECA renamed itself the WiFi Alliance in 2002. More than 300 companies are members of the WiFi Alliance.

Billions of end devices certified

The market success reflects the necessity and high utilisation of wireless transmission: after just ten years, more than one billion WiFi end devices had already been certified. In 2011 there were one million WiFi hotspots, in 2013 there were five million. 20 years after the WiFi Alliance was founded, 30 billion end devices were certified. According to the WiFi Alliance, WiFi is the most widely used wireless communication technology with 3.8 billion devices shipped per year and 19.5 billion* devices in use.

Efficient further development

The ever-increasing demand for mobility and flexible data utilisation has accelerated the development and implementation of wireless networks and the WiFi standard. The wireless standard has been successively developed further and adapted to the respective technical requirements. The current upcoming WiFi 7 version offers a maximum data rate of 30 gigabits per second (Gbit/s), while the previous version enables a maximum of 9.6 Gbit/s.

WiFi as the basis for mobility

A wireless network connects smartphones or notebooks to the internet and forms the basis for smart home installations. Many everyday applications would not be possible without WLAN. This also includes solutions for localisation or positioning. Mobile Internet access via Wi-Fi on public transport, from trams and buses to trains, aeroplanes and hotels, is now a matter of course.