Wi-Fi is a family of wireless networking technologies, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access.
Dr. John O’Sullivan is an Australian electrical engineer whose work in the application of Fourier transforms to radio astronomy led to his invention with colleagues of a core technology that made wireless LAN fast and reliable. He was also an employee of CSIRO.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research. Its chief role is to improve the economic and social performance of industry for the benefit of the commonwealth.
The technology was in 1994 patented by CSIRO and forms part of the 802.11a, 802.11g and 802.11n Wi-Fi standards and thus O'Sullivan is also credited with the invention of WIFI.
In 1971, ALOHAnet connected the Great Hawaiian Islands with a UHF wireless packet network. ALOHAnet and the ALOHA protocol were early forerunners to Ethernet, and later the IEEE 802.11 protocols, respectively.
A 1985 ruling by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission released the ISM band for unlicensed use. These frequency bands are the same ones used by equipment such as microwave ovens and are subject to interference. In 1991, NCR Corporation with AT&T Corporation invented the precursor to 802.11, intended for use in cashier systems, under the name WaveLAN.
The Australian radio-astronomer Dr John O'Sullivan with his colleagues Terence Percival, Graham Daniels, Diet Ostry, and John Deane developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research project, "a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle".
Dr O'Sullivan and his colleagues are credited with inventing Wi-Fi. In 1992 and 1996, CSIRO obtained patents for a method later used in Wi-Fi to "unsmear" the signal.
The first version of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997, and provided up to 2 Mbit/s link speeds. This was updated in 1999 with 802.11b to permit 11 Mbit/s link speeds, and this proved popular.
In 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance formed as a trade association to hold the Wi-Fi trademark under which most products are sold.
Wi-Fi uses a large number of patents held by many different organizations. In April 2009, 14 technology companies agreed to pay CSIRO $1 billion for infringements on CSIRO patents.
This led to Australia labeling Wi-Fi as an Australian invention, though this has been the subject of some controversy. CSIRO won a further $220 million settlement for Wi-Fi patent-infringements in 2012, with global firms in the United States required to pay CSIRO licensing rights estimated at an additional $1 billion in royalties.
According to en.wikipedia