Nowadays wireless devices aren't just for talking anymore

June 07 - 13, 2004

Welcome to the future. The flying cars aren't quite ready yet, but you can now access the Internet nearly anywhere with wireless devices as small as your palm.

Wireless communication is all around us. Whether we're walking on the street, driving down the highway, or shopping at the mall, we can access anyone, anytime. Although the technology that frees us has been around for some time, the cellular concept of frequency reuse has caused wireless communications to explode worldwide.

Marconi was the premier to start working with radio waves (Hertzian Waves) in 1894 his aim was to produce and detect these waves over long distances. In 1896, he got succeeded and obtained a patent and established the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Limited, the first radio factory in the world.

Following are the major milestones in the history of wireless technologies:


*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


*1897 - Marconi awarded patent for wireless telegraph
*1897 - First "Marconi station" established on Needles island to communicate with English coast
*1898 - Marconi awarded English patent No. 7777 for tuned communication
*1898 - Wireless telegraphic connection between England and France established
*1899 - Oliver Lodge, one of Marconi's assistants, came up with the idea of tuned circuits and produced the first inductance capacity controlled circuit.


*1901 - Marconi successfully transmits radio signal across Atlantic Ocean from Cornwall to Newfoundland
*1902 - First bidirectional communication across Atlantic
*1904 - Dr Fleming came up with the first valve, a diode, and that made reception very much more stable and consistent
*1905 - Lee De Forest, in America, introduced the grid and turned the Fleming diode into a triode
*1909 - Marconi awarded Nobel prize for physics
*1910 - The first national Radio Body was formed in Australia, the WIA
*1912- Armstrong discovered that using certain circuitry he could make De Forest's triode valve regenerate and oscillate


*1914 - First voice over radio transmission
*1920s - Mobile receivers installed in police cars in Detroit
*1927 - First commercial radiotelephone service operated between Britain and the US
*1930s - Mobile transmitters developed; radio equipment occupied most of police car trunk
*1935 - Frequency modulation (FM) demonstrated by Armstrong
*1940s - Majority of police systems converted to FM


*1946 - First interconnection of mobile users to public switched telephone network (PSTN)
*1946 First car-based mobile telephone set up in St. Louis, using 'push-to-talk' technology
*1948 Claude Shannon publishes two benchmark papers on Information Theory, containing the basis for data compression (source encoding) and error detection and correction (channel encoding)
*1949 - FCC recognizes mobile radio as new class of service
*1940s - Number of mobile users > 50K
*In 1947, AT&T engineers stretched mobile service by scattering multiple low-power transmitters throughout a metropolitan area, and "handing off" calls from transmitter to transmitter as customers moved around in their vehicles.
*1950 - TD-2, the first terrestrial microwave telecommunication system, installed to support 2400 telephone circuits
*1950s - Late in the decade, several 'push-to-talk' mobile systems established in big cities for CB-radio, taxis, police, etc.
*1950s - Late in the decade, the first paging access control equipment (PACE) paging systems established
*1950s - Number of mobile users > 500K
*1960s Early in the decade, the Improved Mobile Telephone System (IMTS) developed with simultaneous transmit and receive, more channels, and greater power
*1960s - Number of mobile users > 1.4M
*1960s - Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) introduced; supports full duplex, auto dial, auto trunking
*1962 - The first communication satellite, Telstar, launched into orbit
*1964 - The International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT) established, and in 1965 launches the Early Bird geostationary satellite
*1968 - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - US (DARPA) selected BBN to develop the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the father of the modern Internet
*1970s - Packet switching emerges as an efficient means of data communications, with the X.25 standard emerging late in the decade
*1973 - Motorola introduced its revolutionary new DynaTAC mobile phone,
*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
*1977 - The Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), invented by Bell Labs, first installed in the US with geographic regions divided into 'cells' (i.e. cellular telephone)


*1979 - NTT/Japan deploys first cellular communication system
*1983 - Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) deployed in US in 900 MHzband: supports 666 duplex channels
*1983 - October 6, the first commercial license was granted - to AT&T in Chicago
*1983 January 1 - TCP/IP selected as the official protocol for the ARPANET, leading to rapid growth
*1989 - Groupe Special Mobile defines European digital cellular standard, GSM
*1990 - Motorola files FCC application for permission to launch 77 (revised down to 66) low earth orbit communication satellites, known as the Iridium System (element 77 is Iridium)
*1990, the wireless subscriber count topped five million. Subscribership broke the 10 million mark on November 23, 1992.
*1991 - US Digital Cellular phone system introduced
*1992 - One-millionth host connected to the Internet, with the size now approximately doubling every year 1993 Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) established for reliable transmission over the Internet in conjunction with the Transport Control Protocol (TCP)
*1993 - IS-95 code-division multiple-access (CDMA) spread- spectrum digital cellular system deployed in US
*1994 - GSM system deployed in US, relabeled "Global System for Mobile
*1994-5 - FCC licenses the Personal Communication Services (PCS) spectrum (1.7 to 2.3 GHz) for $7.7 billion


*1995 - FCC auctions off frequencies in Personal Communications System (PCS) band at 1.8 GHz for mobile telephony
*1997 - Number of cellular telephone users in U.S. > 50M
*1998 - Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba announce they will join to develop Bluetooth for wireless data exchange between handheld computers or cellular phones and stationary computers
*As of December 31, 1999, there were over 86.1 million wireless subscribers. Today, there are 148 million U.S. wireless subscribers - that is more than 36 percent of the U.S. population. And subscribership is growing at a rate of 68,000 new wireless subscribers every day, about one subscriber every two seconds.
*From 1983 to 1992 the wireless industry grew by ten million customers. From 1993 to 2000, the wireless industry grew by 90 million customers. And it has been recently suggested that wireless subscribership will double within the next two years.
*2000 - Third generation cellular system standards
*2000 802.11(b)-based networks are in popular demand
*2000-1 Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Security is broken.
*Estimated number of wireless subscribers in USA at the end of 2004 is about 164 million. Globally the figure is estimated to be about 1.87 billion by the end of this year.
*Currently the number of wireless subscribers in Pakistan is about 3 million which is estimated to rise to 8 million at the end of this year.
*According to United Nations research Pakistan's population is expected to rise to 190 million and accordingly number of cellular subscribers will be 25 million approximately.

Nowadays wireless devices aren't just for talking anymore. Wireless communication has become more sophisticated and information can now be structured and transmitted to the mass market in ways that simply were not possible just two or three years ago. New developments have turned cell phones into "mobile information terminals" that are being integrated with the Internet.

The basis for this development is the emerging availability of high speed data transmission in cellular networks through the introduction of Internet protocols.

Now that wireless has hit the mainstream, it's easier than ever to enjoy the benefits of wireless magic which is a result of immense imagination, creativeness and restless hard work of scientists and technicians.