[Make-wifi-fast] 20 year anniversary of wifi

David P. Reed dpreed at deepplum.com
Thu Sep 26 21:14:47 EDT 2019

A small correction/enhancement to the note from Teresa Meng. Maybe it is because I'm much older than her.

The U-NII band opening up in 1997 was NOT the first move by the USG to create open communications. The first move was the creation of enhancements to Part 15, and the allowance of spread-spectrum modes (FHSS and DSSS) on 2.4 GHz ISM band under Part 15.

The core person involved in that Part 15 expansion was Dr. Michael Marcus (a good friend of mine) who at the time worked for the FCC in its Office of Engineering and Technology. (his website is here http://www.marcus-spectrum.com/).

Dr. Meng was not around at the time, so I'm not surprised she isn't aware of the history before she became involved in her work.  FHSS and DSSS modes didn't require the advanced digital modulation mechanisms she refers to, which enabled OFDM (OFDM requires the fourier transform, which can only practically be done algorithmically).

The U-NII band (5 GHz) was the result of major efforts, led mostly on the political side by Apple Computer Inc. and in particular Jim Lovette, an engineer in Apple's advanced engineering, many years earlier, in 1990. Jim, along with others at Apple, and even with some support from Lotus, where I was VP and Chief Scientist, made the case that we needed much more open and freely usable spectrum than the 2.4 GHz and 900 Mhz spectrum that was already in use.  (https://books.google.com/books?id=GTwEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PT5&ots=CAM_c7p1qh&dq=Jim%20Lovette%20Apple%20radio&pg=PT5#v=onepage&q=Jim%20Lovette%20Apple%20radio&f=false)

I knew many of the folks who built 802.11b (prior to U-NII band) and prior to the creation of the WiFi "cartel" who created the brand name WiFi. This is why I'm annoyed at the attempt to make 1999 its "birth". That's just false. It was NOT created by an industry cartel. 

On Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:32pm, "Dave Taht" <dave.taht at gmail.com> said:

> Great article, bob, thx!
> People *wanted* wireless freedom. Everybody had a laptop and a modem,
> and a pcmcia slot. One business model that lasted only briefly was
> coffee shops renting pcmcia cards.....
> On Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 12:10 PM Bob McMahon <bob.mcmahon at broadcom.com> wrote:
>> For what it's worth, Teresa Meng (founder of Atheros) said in 2004
>> https://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=984469
>> "TM: There are three basic ingredients in the technology. The first is definitely
>> signal processing. In the past two decades a lot of research and industry
>> achievements have made it possible for us to understand how to transmit signals
>> through a wireless medium, based on sophisticated signal processing algorithms.
>> Second, in the late ’90s, it became possible to implement gigahertz RF
>> circuits using digital CMOS technology—the predominant technology that
>> people have been using for implementing microprocessors and memory.
>> The third ingredient is the opening up of the unlicensed band. Before 1997, for
>> example, a carrier would have to pay a lot of money—in the billion-dollar
>> range—to the government to have the right to use a bandwidth of several
>> megahertz for their cellphone service. In 1997, the U.S. government opened up the
>> 5GHz UNII band that allows unlicensed users—everybody in the United
>> States—to use up to 550 megahertz of bandwidth, as long as they follow the
>> rules.
>> With the availability of wide bandwidth and CMOS technology being advanced enough
>> to process the bandwidth at this frequency, and with the signal processing
>> know-how—all this created what I call the “wireless revolution”
>> that freed us from the previous notion that wireless communication is expensive,
>> inherently constrained by a low data-rate, and is scarce. Bandwidth used to be a
>> very scarce commodity, which is not true anymore with the opening up of
>> unlicensed bands. This is the path Atheros would like to lead: to change
>> people’s view of wireless service from tele-communication to more of a
>> data-communication notion where equipment can be updated very quickly and
>> inexpensively, and basically provide a level field for competition."
>> Bob
>> On Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 1:33 PM David Lang <david at lang.hm> wrote:
>>> I had some homerf devices, they were signficantly slower than 802.11b but they
>>> were also far cheaper (they were ~$150 for a card where 802.11b were ~$800 each)
>>> a few years later the 'junk' vendors started producing 802.11b devices, the
>>> prices dropped, and they caught on.
>>> David Lang
>>> On Mon, 16 Sep 2019, Dave Taht wrote:
>>> > Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2019 23:46:38 +0100
>>> > From: Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com>
>>> > To: Make-Wifi-fast <make-wifi-fast at lists.bufferbloat.net>
>>> > Subject: [Make-wifi-fast] 20 year anniversary of wifi
>>> >
>>> > I remember experimenting with "homeRF". I cannot remember for the life
>>> > of me what it was like.
>>> >
>>> > and to me, why wifi took off was that it had a strong investment by
>>> > apple AND heavy interest from the geek community, with a couple
>>> > drivers that actually worked, and because of the coffee shop
>>> > phenomenon....
>>> >
>>> > Shure, everything else here was important, too:
>>> >
>>> > https://www.wired.com/story/how-wi-fi-almost-didnt-happen/
>>> > --
>>> >
>>> > Dave Täht
>>> > CTO, TekLibre, LLC
>>> > http://www.teklibre.com
>>> > Tel: 1-831-205-9740
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > Make-wifi-fast mailing list
>>> > Make-wifi-fast at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>> > https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/make-wifi-fast_______________________________________________
>>> Make-wifi-fast mailing list
>>> Make-wifi-fast at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>> https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/make-wifi-fast
> --
> Dave Täht
> CTO, TekLibre, LLC
> http://www.teklibre.com
> Tel: 1-831-205-9740
> _______________________________________________
> Make-wifi-fast mailing list
> Make-wifi-fast at lists.bufferbloat.net
> https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/make-wifi-fast

More information about the Make-wifi-fast mailing list