7/29/09

A Wi-Fi World


It’s everywhere. From reading email in coffee shops to watching YouTube on the couch, there’s no doubt WiFi has permeated our lives. At 35,000 feet, it's even starting to convert airline seats to remote offices.

This technological innovation saw its early days here at Carnegie Mellon. Fifteen years ago, Wireless Andrew was started as a research network to support Carnegie Mellon’s wireless research initiative.

Originally used only by wireless research team, Wireless Andrew provided coverage in seven campus buildings in 1994. But as the demand for anytime, anywhere high speed Internet grew, so did Wireless Andrew’s reach.

By 1999, the network was expanded to serve all 65 residential, academic and administrative buildings on the Pittsburgh campus – reaching a total floor area of approximately 3-million-square-feet plus outside areas.

It was Alex Hills, a distinguished professor and founding director of Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute, who began the wireless research initiative that ultimately helped lay the foundation for today's Wi-Fi computing environment — a wireless network that connects laptops and PDAs to the Internet.

Over the coming decades, the Wireless Andrew infrastructure created at Carnegie Mellon will continue to be the research seedling that helped pave the way for wireless networking for everything.

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