HISTORY OF WIFI DAY: 8.02.11
Today is August 2, 2011… or 8.02.11. This number is also the designation for the popular WiFi standard in use today.
The IEEE 802.11 standard refers to a set of protocols for Wireless Local Area Networking, or WLAN, and is popularly known as WiFi or colloquially as “Wireless Fidelity” like Hi-Fi, though WiFi doesn’t really stand for anything. In common parlance, it is what allows your mobile computing device — whether it be a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer — to connect without wires to a local “hot spot.”
There are a variety of flavors of WiFi, starting with 802.11a which reaches back to Prehistoric times, and 802.11b which was popular during the Medieval period, also known as the Dark Ages, though having nothing to do with Dark Fibre. 802.11g is a superset of 802.11b and emerged with the Renaissance along with pretty music, wonderful art, and cool architecture… except in England, where they didn’t see so much of the architecture, but they could proudly boast of Shakespeare. 802.11n added Multiple Input Mobile Output (MIMO) capabilities during the period of the Enlightenment and is now widely used in most modern devices, especially because of such “enlightened” features as increased data throughput through spatial multiplexing as well as increased range by exploiting the spatial diversity through coding schemes like Alamouti coding, which is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.
WiFi Day is celebrated in the US by trips to the local Starbucks where people “hop online” as they sip their Venti Decaf Skinny Mocha Latte.
Unfortunately, this holiday, which is celebrated only today, is not observed in Europe, where today’s date is 2.08.11.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian