D-Link today celebrates the significant impact Wi-Fi has had on people’s personal and business lives since its story began 25 years ago. This was when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made the decision to permit unlicensed access to radio spectrum for communications, paving the way for the 802.11 committee to develop Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies. The US regulator’s decision encouraged regulators around the world to adopt similar rules leading to the unprecedented growth in Wi-Fi deployments and the wireless internet devices we see today.
Wi-Fi has fundamentally changed the way that people communicate and undoubtedly brought the online experience to the masses. From working on a beach, to working in the garden, to working on the train, or hot-desking within the four walls of an office; Wi-Fi has helped drive globalisation giving businesses the mobility and flexibility to operate from literally anywhere in the world. Wi-Fi has also heralded the arrival of the Digital Home, connecting a whole host of music, gaming and mobile devices. This has provided consumers with the increased connectivity and the flexibility to access multimedia content anywhere in the home, as they are not confined to being plugged into a wired connection.
“Today, for a lot of people, being without Wi-Fi is unimaginable as it is an integral part of their everyday home and business lives,” said Kevin Wen, president D-Link Europe. “In recent years, Wi-Fi has come into its own, particularly with the rise in popularity of smart-phones and mobile gaming devices, as public and private hotspots continue to deliver a better online experience than 3G and other internet access technologies. To date, the Wi-Fi journey has been an exciting one and the future promises to be even more so, as the demand for anytime and anywhere internet access shows no sign of slowing down.”
When it comes to the evolution of Wi-Fi, D-Link is taking the lead in product development. For instance, D-Link is the number one provider of products that support the 802.11n (Wireless N) standard. In fact, D-Link launched its first Wireless N product, the DIR-635 in 2006, 3 years before Wireless N was formerly ratified in September 2009. Wireless N is the first Wi-Fi technology to offer performance on a par with cabled solutions, providing users with even greater speeds, performance and range. According to ABI Research, consumer 802.11n Wi-Fi access point shipments are forecasted to reach 32.2 million in 2010, with enterprise access point shipments reaching half a million globally.
D-Link will continue to stay at the forefront of future Wi-Fi developments as the technology moves towards Gigabit connectivity in the next few years. This improved level of throughput and performance will provide businesses, in particular, with the levels of high-speed internet access that they can only currently achieve using their wired network. D-Link is currently monitoring the work of all the major worldwide standards bodies to ensure that its products will meet these future high-speed Wi-Fi specifications.
“Businesses and consumers want more from their wireless connections, as they seek to access increasing amounts of online content and applications from the home, the office and on the move. Wireless N is a significant upgrade, bringing a 5-fold increase in speed and performance in comparison to the previous standards. So whether you are a consumer wanting uninterrupted access to high-definition multimedia content or a business requiring improved connectivity for cloud computing or VoIP services, it is clear that Wi-Fi is continuing to evolve to meet these changing needs,” said Kevin Wen.
D-Link has been developing Wi-Fi products ever since the technology became available. Last year, D-Link shipped over 12 million wireless products and was recently named by Gartner as the leader in worldwide Wireless LAN stand-alone access points for mid- and large-size enterprises in 2009.
Key dates in Wi-Fi history:
• 1985 – FCC released the decision to permit unlicensed access to radio spectrum for communications;
• 1990 – A new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) committee was set up to look at creating an official 802.11 standard;
• 1997 – The IEEE introduced the 802.11 standard for wireless Ethernet networks;
• 1999 – The IEEE ratified the 802.11b standard, which supported a maximum throughput of 11 Mbps;
• 1999 – This was when the term ‘Wi-Fi’ (Wireless Fidelity) was first used commercially. The term was coined by brand-consulting firm, Interbrand, and was a play on words on ‘Hi-Fi’ (High Fidelity)– the long established audio equipment classification;
• 2003 – The 802.11g standard was introduced supporting a maximum throughput of 54 Mbps;
• 11 September 2009 – The 802.11n standard was ratified to deliver throughput rates of up to 300 Mbps.
Celebrating 23 years of “Building Networks for People,” D-Link (dlink.co.uk) has grown into a billion dollar global designer, developer and manufacturer of networking, broadband, digital electronics and voice and data communications products. D-Link is responsible for 21% of all LAN switching ports worldwide, second only to Cisco. The company’s solutions are ideal for digital home, small- to medium-sized business (SMB) and enterprise environments. D-Link was recently included in BusinessWeek Magazine’s ‘Info Tech 100’, a listing of the world’s best Information Technology companies.
In Europe, D-Link has 20 offices and is headquartered in London. The region is strategically critical for the company and represents one third of its global revenues.