Today, there are over eight billion devices connected to Wi-Fi all over the world – about as many for every single person on the planet. As we look towards a future of constant connectivity where IoT devices are a mainstay in the home, understanding where it all truly began can help us better predict what’s to come.
Though the internet as we understand it today only came around during the 1990s, the theoretical properties and operations of instant connections, both wired and wireless, aren’t exactly new. Typified as a real-life “mad scientist,” futurist and inventor Nikola Tesla was among the first to suggest the idea of the “World Wireless System,” in the early 1920s. He described devices and connections that would also us to “see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face,” effectively imagining smartphones. Unfortunately, these ideas would remain theoretical in his lifetime and for many decades still.
It wasn’t until ARPANET in the 1960s that the theoreticals were truly put to the test in large-scale prototyping. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks, or ARPANET, made its debut in 1969 was largely funded by the US Department of Defense and became the first instance of the Internet by allowing multiple commuters to communicate on a single network. A simple idea, yet advanced enough for further development to see it turned into a “network or networks,” by the 1980s and the beginning of the modern internet. The World Wide Web followed soon after thanks to computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee who made it possible for public use in 1990 – and the rest is history.
By 2020, there will be a predicted 20 billion active IoT devices worldwide, more than 2.6 times the current number today. To grow at such an alarmingly fast rate, we have theoretical scientists, researchers, and inventors to thank. The future of Wi-Fi 6 is going to revolutionize the way we connect to the internet and to each other. Learn more about the history and the future of Wi-Fi from the infographic below and tell us what you think of Wi-Fi in the comments.