It stands as arguably the biggest innovation of the 21st Century, but today, we all take it for granted. Indeed, wireless Internet has become so common and frequent that we forget how important it was.
Ten, fifteen years ago, connecting to the Internet was a strenuous task, and required much effort. Nowadays, it’s as simple as tapping a screen. It’s come a long, long way from its humble beginnings, and has morphed into the juggernaut we see today.
It’s allowed us to be more efficient
It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that wifi as we know it today truly came to be. Up until that point, people had been relying on wired/dial-up connections, and we all know how annoying they were!
Schools and libraries were the ones who suffered most though, as wired connections simply weren’t good enough. How were dozens of kids meant to all get online at once? It was virtually impossible, and any solutions were less than desirable.
Wi-fi started to fully roll out in schools in 2004, improving the education system and making teaching more efficient. It’s now easier for teachers to research and deliver solid lesson plans to pupils. Business owners also gleaned the benefits, too, and they can now operate their company from anywhere in the world. Speaking of which…
It’s allowed us to connect from anywhere
Again, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that wifi started to appear on planes. And even then, it was on luxury flights only. It’s now spread to become more common, and it’s even possible to gain 3G and 4G connections with some airlines.
This wifi boom saw us ditching the cables and moving toward a much simpler method of communication. With companies rolling out satellites and hotspots, you can easily connect from pretty much anywhere. Seriously, yachts and 3G are now commonplace, with connections being rolled out across cruise ships and liners too.
Wifi has also had its impact on our personal lives, and the way we access information. Billions of people use Apple Maps every single week, a wireless innovation that makes it hard to get lost. Ten years ago, this would’ve been impossible. You’d need to carry a physical map, which wasn’t a very handy solution.
Wireless Internet is making us healthier from anywhere, too. We can now connect to Spotify playlists from the gym, to make our workouts more high-energy. People can research workout plans on the fly, choosing exercises that best match their goals. Fitness trackers can upload your health information to the cloud, making it easy to track progress. There are no limits.
A humble beginning, and a bright future
Wifi really spawned in 1985 with a decision made by the FCC, but never really came to fruition until this century. The FCC opened several bands of the wireless spectrum, allowing them to be used without a license.
It was an odd move, but it paved the way for the technology we see today. We can connect to the Internet in the air, or at sea. We can connect from the gym, the coffee shop or the cellar. The future looks bright, too. Free wifi hotspots are being rolled out worldwide, allowing everyone to access the web for free.
As a technology, it’s just beginning – and it doesn’t get more exciting than that!