This week is the 25th anniversary of a landmark decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open up the radio spectrum and allow unlicensed access for communications, and to mark the occasion we've teamed up with D-Link to run a competition with a distinctly vintage air...
The FCC's decision lit the touchpaper for regulators in other countries to adopt similar rules and ultimately led to the development of wireless, or Wi-Fi technology as we know it today.
Wi-Fi has had, and continues to have an enormous impact on the lives of people around the world, and has brought the online experience to the masses, allowing flexible remote working, mobility, and in the home, a whole host of interconnected devices for music, gaming, and pretty much anything else you can think of. "Wireless really does touch on every aspect of a person's life, in hospital, in school, in the office, on the move and at home," says Chris Davies, general manager of the UK and Ireland at D-Link.
And where would all those wannabe screen-writers and hipster musicians be without a trendy Wi-Fi enabled cafe to sit in and surf the Internet on their new Macbooks?
Chris believes going without Wi-Fi is now an "unimaginable" torment for millions. "Wi-Fi has come into its own, particularly with the rise in popularity of smartphones and mobile gaming devices and the growing number of public and private hotspots," he says.
"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."
D-Link is one of many companies driving the wireless industry forward, and has helped take the lead in the development of the latest standard, 802.11n, ratified last year. In fact, it shipped its first Wireless N router, the DIR-635, in 2006, three years before the standard was approved.
As a measure of just how successful the technology is proving, consumer 802.11n access point shipments are set to hit 32.2 million this year, with enterprise access points hitting the half a million mark, according to the number-crunchers at ABI Research.
Wireless through the ages:
1985 - FCC releases the decision to permit unlicensed access to the radio spectrum, and the world heaves a sigh of relief.
1990 - A new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is set up to look at creating a new 802.11 standard for wireless equipment.
1997 - The 802.11 standard for wireless Ethernet networks is introduced to critical acclaim.
1998 - The 802.11b standard is ratified, supporting a speedier maximum throughput of 11Mbps.
1999 - The term Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) is first used commercially. It was coined by brand-consultancy Interbrand as an amusing play on the term 'Hi-Fi'. With such devastating wit they should try writing for MicroScope.
2003 - The 802.11g standard is adopted, raising throughput levels to 54Mbps.
2009 - The 802.11n standard is finally ratified, raising throughput rates again, this time to a whopping 300Mbps.
Win the whisky!
To celebrate this joyous occasion D-Link and MicroScope are offering one lucky reader a rare 25 year-old single malt Glenmorangie, with 24 runners up receiving a miniature of The Glenrothes 1985 vintage.
To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following question correctly.
What was the name of D-link's first Wireless N product?
Please send your answer via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers will be drawn at random after the closing date, Friday 11 June 2010.
Competition terms and conditions
The standard competition terms and conditions apply to all competitions run on MicroScope.co.uk, unless otherwise specified for an individual competition.
Competitions are open to all UK residents aged 18 or over except for employees of Reed Business Information Limited, D-Link, and their immediate families.
Competition closing dates will apply as published alongside the details of each individual competition.
Winners will be chosen according to the criteria published alongside each competition's details.
Entries will be judged by the editor of MicroScope.co.uk and any other judges specified in the competition details.
Judges' decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Only one prize per competition per person.
Winners will be notified by email and prizes will be sent by registered delivery.
No cash alternatives are available.
Entering our competitions is free. No purchase is necessary.
By entering any competition, entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions.
MicroScope.co.uk reserves the right to cancel or amend competitions or these rules at any time without prior notice.
Entrants can contact MicroScope.co.uk at the following address:
MicroScope, Attn: Simon Quicke, 3rd Floor, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS
This was first published in May 2010