Bringing WiFi to the world

We invented and patented wireless local area network (WLAN) in the 1990s – a technology that has given us the freedom to work wirelessly in our homes and offices.

The Challenge

A world weighed down by wires

Back in the 1990s, there were no smartphones, tablets or other wireless devices. If you were browsing online you had to rely on fixed wires.

This infographic explains how WiFi technology was created and how it actually works (expand for full screen).

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Major communications companies around the world were trying to introduce wireless networking technology, however they were struggling with a problem called reverberation.

Reverberation occurs where radio waves bounce around the surrounding environment causing an echo that distorts the signal.

Our Response

We invented wireless LAN

We invented and patented wireless LAN (WLAN) – a technology that has given us the freedom to work wirelessly in our homes and offices.

The invention came out of our pioneering research in radioastronomy. That work involved complex mathematics known as 'fast fourier transforms' as well as detailed knowledge about radio waves and their behaviour in different environments.

Our team solved the issue of reverberation in a unique way at a time when many companies around the world were trying, but with less success, to solve the same problem.

The Results

A top Australian invention

Today, this wireless network connectivity is in products such as phones, televisions, cameras, laptops, printers, routers and games consoles. In fact, our WLAN technology is estimated to be in more than five billion devices worldwide. It is used in WiFi hotspots in offices, public buildings, homes and even coffee shops.

Today, its myriad applications have fundamentally changed how we think of and use technology in our daily lives. The discovery is one of our most successful inventions to date and is internationally recognised as a great Australian science success story.

We can be proud that our invention lies at the heart of what is now the most popular way to connect to the internet without wires. This is all possible thanks to inventors Dr John O'Sullivan, Dr Terry Percival, Mr Diet Ostry, Mr Graham Daniels and Mr John Deane.

We are now building on our legacy in wireless research, developing innovative solutions for the next generation of wireless technologies.


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