IEEE Celebrates Global Impact of Wireless Communications at 25th Anniversary of Ubiquitous IEEE 802.11™ Standard

IEEE 802.11 working group recognized for ongoing, industry-making role as standards continue to expand to support new applications such as smart grid and Internet of Things (IoT) and new capabilities such as faster, more secure ‘Wi-Fi®’-enabled devices

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IEEE Standards Association IEEE 802.11™ 25th Anniversary video: IEEE 802.11 Working Group Commemoration

PISCATAWAY, N.J.--()--IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today celebrates the global impact of wireless communications by marking the 25th anniversary of IEEE 802.11™1, the standard that defines the technology for the world’s premier wireless local area network (LAN) products.

The IEEE 802.11 standard underpins wireless networking applications around the world that impact our daily lives, such as wireless access to the Internet from offices, homes, airports, hotels, restaurants, trains and aircraft. Today's laptops, tablets and mobile phones are typically equipped with an IEEE 802.11 radio, often branded as “Wi-Fi®.” The IEEE 802.11 standard has enabled a whole range of applications and economy for wireless communications, and their relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new devices, supporting new applications such as the smart grid and the Internet of Things (IoT).

After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the 2.4-2.5 GHz spectrum for use for individual and non-licensed applications in the late 1980s, IEEE recognized the need for a standard that fulfilled the demand for wireless communications and networking infrastructure. Work began on creating such a standard in September 1990, and the first approved and adopted version of IEEE 802.11 was published and made available in June 1997.

When work to develop IEEE 802.11 started, the goal was to bring together forward-thinking technology leaders to develop interoperable wireless standards reaching a data rate of over 1 Mb/s. Twenty-five years later, the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group is crafting a series of IEEE 802.11 enhancements, such as IEEE P802.11ax™ to meet the new challenges of dense wireless LAN deployments, including stadiums, shopping malls and densely populated locations. This enhancement has the goal of providing over a 10,000-fold increase compared to the standard’s initial data rate.

In addition, work is underway on a wide breadth of wireless LAN enhancements, including precise indoor location, faster connection setup, much higher data rates and utilization of the 900 MHz unlicensed band. The IEEE 802.11 working group also addresses aspects such as more efficient use of the radio spectrum, advanced security, quality of service over the air interface and special regional extensions for China and Japan to meet their regulatory requirements for short-range radio equipment.

“The many people who have worked on the IEEE 802.11 standard have forever changed our world,” said Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). “As one of the more popular and universally known IEEE standards, IEEE 802.11 already enhances ways of life around the world; for the new generations, home will virtually be where there is good wireless Internet connectivity. Thus, IEEE 802.11’s role is exploding, also with the proliferation of application innovations such as the IoT. The high quality and broad commercial acceptance of the standard is a testament to the dedication, innovation and vision of the IEEE 802.11 working group’s members.”

Added Adrian Stephens, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group: “The IEEE 802.11 standard underpins widely deployed and dependable connectivity that dramatically influences our everyday lives and will continue to do so well into the future. IEEE 802.11 continues to push the boundaries of innovation two and a half decades after its inception. Devices using the standard are so interoperable and ubiquitous that we’re continuously seeing new and creative ways wireless devices connect to the Internet.”

For more information on the 25th anniversary of IEEE 802.11, please visit

For more information about the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group, please visit the working group’s landing page. The IEEE 802.11 standard is available for download via the IEEE Get Program.

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About the IEEE Standards Association

The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 1,100 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit

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1 IEEE 802.11™, IEEE Standard for Information technology--Telecommunications and information exchange between systems Local and metropolitan area networks--Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications


Shuang Yu, +1 732-981-3424
Director, Global Standards Solutions & Content Marketing


Shuang Yu, +1 732-981-3424
Director, Global Standards Solutions & Content Marketing