We’ll be honest, we felt a little silly when we set out to research the history of Wi-Fi. A quick glance at the relevant Wikipedia article will confirm what anyone over the age of 15 probably already thinks: it’s really not that long since the internet came to our homes through dial-up modems that made, er, distinctive sounds. Or at least – being ancient – that’s what we thought.
Until we found this article.
It was 2004. Christina Milian was dippin’ it low. The Ocean’s franchise was only up to twelve. And The Economist newspaper was reflecting on the brief history of a little thing called Wi-Fi.
There are two aspects to this article that we find really fascinating. The first is the article’s general tone of explaining to its readers just what is this ‘Wi-Fi’ that has the kids so excited: “Among geeks, it has inspired a mania unseen since the days of the internet boom.”
The second is when the article tries to predict the future. It gives short shrift to the idea that Wi-Fi is going to undermine the growth of mobile networks, arguing that this was unrealistic…in part because “subscribe to one network of hotspots (in coffee-shops, say) and you may not be able to use the hotspot in the airport”. Imagine!
In fact, such are the limitations of this mania-inducing technology that “Wi-Fi is also under threat in the home”! Instead, according to the voice of 2004, by now we should all be talking about WiMax and WiMedia instead. The what, now?
This Economist piece isn’t just good for a chuckle: it does a good job of providing an informative and interesting run-down of the science – and the politics – that was involved in bringing Wi-Fi to our homes and public spaces (not to mention why it’s really called Wi-Fi!). So fire up your WiMax connection and give it a read. Read more about Wireless at: http:/