History of Wireless Communication
From the Birth of Telecommunications to the Modern Era of Cellular Communications and Wireless Local Area Networks
John M. Shea
Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida
From Telegraph to ``The Birth of Radio'', 1867-1896
- *1867 — Maxwell predicts existence of
electromagnetic (EM) waves
- *1887 — Hertz proves existence of EM waves; first spark
transmitter generates a spark in a receiver several meters away
- 1890 — Branly develops coherer for detecting radio waves
- 1896 — Guglielmo Marconi demonstrates wireless
telegraph to English telegraph office
``The Birth of Radio''
- *1897 — ``The Birth of Radio'' - Marconi awarded patent for
- 1897 — First ``Marconi station'' established on Needles island
to communicate with English coast
- 1898 — Marconi awarded English patent no. 7777 for tuned
- 1898 — Wireless telegraphic connection between England and France
- *1901 — Marconi successfully transmits radio signal across
Atlantic Ocean from (first wireless communication across the ocean)
Cornwall to Newfoundland
- 1902 — First bidirectional communication across Atlantic
- 1909 — Marconi awarded Nobel prize for physics
Voice over Radio and the First Television Transmissions
- *1914 — First voice over radio transmission
- 1920s — Mobile receivers installed in police cars in Detroit
- 1925 — US patent no. 1,544,156 granted to Charles Francis Jenkins for "Transmitting Pictures over Wireless" (TV).
- 1927 — First long-distance TV transmission in the United States, conducted by AT&T Bell Labs.
- 1928 — First transatlantic TV transmission, from London to New York.
- 1928 — First TV station, W2XB (later WRGB), broadcast from General Electric facility in Schenectady, NY
- 1930s — Mobile transmitters developed; radio equipment
occupied most of police car trunk
- *1935 — Frequency modulation (FM) demonstrated by
- 1940s — Majority of police systems converted to FM
Commercial Television and the Birth of Mobile Telephony
- 1946 — First interconnection of mobile users to public switched
- 1949 — FCC recognizes mobile radio as new class of service
- 1940s — Number of mobile users > 50K
- 1950s — Number of mobile users > 500K
- 1960s — Number of mobile users > 1.4M
- 1960s — Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) introduced;
supports full-duplex, auto dial, auto trunking
- 1976 — Bell Mobile Phone has 543 pay customers using 12
channels in the New York City area; waiting list is 3700 people;
service is poor due to blocking
Cellular Mobile Telephony and Steps Toward Wireless Internet
- 1979 — NTT/Japan deploys first cellular communication
- *1983 — Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) deployed
in US in 900 MHz band: supports 666 duplex channels
- 1989 — Groupe Spècial Mobile defines European digital
cellular standard, GSM
- 1990 — Formation of IEEE 802.11 Working Group to define standards for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)
- *1991 — US Digital Cellular phone system introduced
- 1990 — First web browser, WorldWideWeb, developed.
- 1991 — First documented version of HTTP protocol, the protocol behind the World Wide Web.
- 1992 — First GSM phones approved for sale.
- 1992 — Text messaging, or short messaging service (SMS), was designed as part of the GSM cellular system.
- *1993 — IS-95 code-division multiple-access (CDMA) spread-
spectrum digital cellular system deployed in US
- 1993 — NCSA Mosaic web broswer developed, with support for Unix, Windows, Mac, and more. Mosaic eventually evolved into the commercial Netscape Navigator.
- *1994 — GSM system deployed in US, relabeled ``Global System for Mobile Communications''
The Wireless Data Era
- 1997 — Release of IEEE 802.11 WLAN protocol, supporting 1-2 Mbit/s data rates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band
- 1999 — Release of IEEE 802.11b WLAN protocol, supporting 1-11 Mbit/s data rates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band
- 1999 — Release of IEEE 802.11a WLAN protocol, supporting 1-54 Mbit/s data rates in the 5 GHz ISM band
- 2003 — Release of IEEE 802.11g WLAN protocol, supporting 1-54 Mbit/s data rates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band
- 2009 — Release of IEEE 802.11n WLAN protocol, supporting up to 150 Mbit/s data rates in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ISM bands.