WaveLAN was a brand name for a family of wireless networking technology sold by NCR, AT&T, and Lucent, as well as being sold by other companies under OEM agreements. The WaveLAN name debuted on the market in 1988 and was in use into the mid-1990s, when Lucent renamed their products to ORiNOCO. WaveLAN laid the important foundation for the formation of IEEE 802.11 working group and the resultant creation of Wi-Fi.
A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes.
The NCR Corporation is an American company that makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems, barcode scanners, and business consumables. They also provide IT maintenance support services. NCR had been based in Dayton, Ohio, starting in 1884, but in June 2009 the company sold most of the Dayton properties and moved its headquarters to the Atlanta metropolitan area in unincorporated Gwinnett County, Georgia, near Duluth. In early January 2018, the new NCR Global Headquarters opened in Midtown Atlanta near Technology Square.
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is the world's largest telecommunications company, the second largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States through AT&T Communications. Since June 14, 2018, it is also the parent company of mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia, making it the world's largest media and entertainment company in terms of revenue. As of 2018, AT&T is ranked #9 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
WaveLAN has been used on two different families of wireless technology:
IEEE 802.11 is part of the IEEE 802 set of LAN protocols, and specifies the set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) protocols for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) Wi-Fi computer communication in various frequencies, including but not limited to 2.4, 5, and 60 GHz frequency bands.
WaveLAN was originally designed by COMTEN, a subsidiary of NCR Corporation, (later the Network Products Division of NCR) in 1986-7, and introduced to the market in 1988 as a wireless alternative to Ethernet and Token-Ring.The next year NCR contributed the WaveLAN design to the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee. This led to the founding of the 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Committee which produced the original IEEE 802.11 standard, which eventually became known popularly as Wi-Fi . When NCR was acquired by AT&T in 1991, becoming the AT&T GIS (Global Information Solutions) business unit, the product name was retained, as happened two years later when the product was transferred to the AT&T GBCS (Global Business Communications Systems) business unit, and again when AT&T spun off their GBCS business unit as Lucent in 1995. The technology was also sold as WaveLAN under an OEM agreement by Epson, Hitachi,and NEC, and as the RoamAbout DS by DEC. It competed directly with Aironet's non-802.11 ARLAN lineup, which offered similar speeds, frequency ranges and hardware.
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3, and has since retained a good deal of backward compatibility and been refined to support higher bit rates and longer link distances. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies such as Token Ring, FDDI and ARCNET.
Wi-Fi is a family of radio technologies that is commonly used for the wireless local area networking (WLAN) of devices which is based around the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. Wi‑Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which restricts the use of the term Wi-Fi Certified to products that successfully complete interoperability certification testing. Wi-Fi uses multiple parts of the IEEE 802 protocol family and is designed to seamlessly interwork with its wired sister protocol Ethernet.
Lucent Technologies, Inc., was an American multinational telecommunications equipment company headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, in the United States. It was established on September 30, 1996, through the divestiture of the former AT&T Technologies business unit of AT&T Corporation, which included Western Electric and Bell Labs.
Several companies also marketed wireless bridges and routers based on the WaveLAN ISA and PC cards, like the C-Spec OverLAN, KarlNet KarlBridge, Persoft Intersect Remote Bridge, and Solectek AIRLAN/Bridge Plus. Lucent's WavePoint II access point could accommodate both the classic WaveLAN PC cards as well as the WaveLAN IEEE cards. MHz WaveLAN parallel port adapter; Microplex's M204 WaveLAN-compatible wireless print server; NEC's Japanese-market only C&C-Net 2.4 GHz adapter for the NEC-bus; Toshiba's Japanese-market only WaveCOM 2.4 GHz adapter for the Toshiba-Bus; and Teklogix's WaveLAN-compatible Pen-based and Notebook terminals.Also, there were a number of compatible third-party products available to address niche markets such as: Digital Ocean's Grouper, Manta, and Starfish offerings for the Apple Newton and Macintosh; Solectek's 915
Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) is the 16-bit internal bus of IBM PC/AT and similar computers based on the Intel 80286 and its immediate successors during the 1980s. The bus was (largely) backward compatible with the 8-bit bus of the 8088-based IBM PC, including the IBM PC/XT as well as IBM PC compatibles.
The Newton is a series of personal digital assistants (PDA) developed and marketed by Apple Computer, Inc. An early device in the PDA category – the Newton originated the term "personal digital assistant" – it was the first to feature handwriting recognition. Apple started developing the platform in 1987 and shipped the first devices in 1993. Production officially ended on February 27, 1998. Newton devices run on a proprietary operating system, Newton OS; examples include Apple's MessagePad series and the eMate 300, and other companies also released devices running on Newton OS. Most Newton devices were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and all featured handwriting-based input.
Teklogix International Inc., or Teklogix, was a tech company created in 1967 by Lawrence Cragg together with a small group of engineers.The company focused on mini computer applications. It designed and built complete systems based upon DEC's PDP-8 computer, DEC's logic modules and purpose built logic. Many of the company's projects involved control of material handling systems and this led to the development of radio linked terminals for installation on fork lift trucks complete with multiplexers to interface to a variety of main frame computer systems.
During this time frame, networking professionals also realized that since NetWare 3.x and 4.x supported the WaveLAN cards and came with a Multi Protocol Router module that supported the IP/IPX RIP and OSPF routing protocols, one could construct a wireless routed network using NetWare servers and WaveLAN cards for a fraction of the cost of building a wireless bridged network using WaveLAN access points.Many NetWare classes and textbooks of the time included a NetWare OS CD with a 2-person license, so potentially the only cost incurred came from hardware.
NetWare is a discontinued computer network operating system developed by Novell, Inc. It initially used cooperative multitasking to run various services on a personal computer, using the IPX network protocol.
The Routing Information Protocol ('RIP') is one of the oldest distance-vector routing protocols which employ the hop count as a routing metric. RIP prevents routing loops by implementing a limit on the number of hops allowed in a path from source to destination. The largest number of hops allowed for RIP is 15, which limits the size of networks that RIP can support.
In the seven-layer OSI model of computer networking, the network layer is layer 3. The network layer is responsible for packet forwarding including routing through intermediate routers.
When the 802.11 protocol was ratified, Lucent began producing chipsets to support this new standard under the name of WaveLAN IEEE, which it later renamed to ORiNOCO. Shortly thereafter, Lucent spun off the division that produced these chipsets as Agere Systems, which was later acquired by Proxim. Proxim later renamed its entire 802.11 wireless networking lineup to ORiNOCO, including products based on Atheros chipsets.
Agere Systems Inc. was an integrated circuit components company based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. Spun out of Lucent Technologies in 2002, Agere was merged into LSI Corporation in 2007. LSI was in turn acquired by Avago Technologies in 2014.
Proxim is a Canadian group of pharmacists located in Quebec and to a lesser extent in Ontario and the Maritimes provinces. Proxim competes with Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix/Shoppers Drug Mart, Uniprix/Unipharm, Brunet and Familiprix. The average Proxim drug store is 4,000 square feet (370 m2), similar to typical size of a Brunet or Unipharm location.
Nowadays, tiny Wi-Fi chipsets are found in many devices, such as the smart phone.
Classic WaveLAN operates in the 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz ISM bands. Being a proprietary pre-802.11 protocol, it is completely incompatible with the 802.11 standard.
The ISA and MCA cards were based on the Intel 82586 Ethernet PHY controller, which was a commonly used controller in its time and was found in many ISA and MCA Ethernet cards, such as the Intel EtherExpress 16 and the 3COM 3C523.The PCMCIA cards used the Intel 82593 PHY controller. The radio modem section was hidden from the OS, thus making the WaveLAN card appear to be a typical Ethernet card, with the radio-specific features taken care of behind the scenes.
While the 900 MHz models and the early 2.4 GHz models operated on one fixed frequency, the later 2.4 GHz cards as well as some 2.4 GHz WavePoint access points had the hardware capacity to operate over ten channels, ranging from 2.412 GHz to 2.484 GHz, with the channels available being determined by the region-specific firmware.
For security, WaveLAN used a 16-bit NWID (NetWork ID) field, which yielded 65,536 potential combinations; the radio portion of the device could receive radio traffic tagged with another NWID, but the controller would discard the traffic. DES encryption (56-bit) was an option in some of the ISA and MCA cards and all of the WavePoint access points. The full-length ISA and MCA cards had a socket for an encryption chip, the half-length 915 MHz ISA cards had solder pads for a socket which was never added, and the 2.4 GHz half-length ISA cards had the chip soldered directly to the board.
There are two large holes in the WaveLAN security strategy, though:
|Realm||Type||Number of frequencies||Frequency||Modulation technique||Output power||Maximum data rate||Media Access Control||Security|
|Worldwide||900 MHz||1||915 MHz||DSSS/DQPSK||250 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
|US and Canada||2.4 GHz||6||2.412 GHz, 2.422 GHz, 2.432 GHz, 2.442 GHz, 2.452 GHz, 2.462 GHz||DSSS/DQPSK||32 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
|Europe (except France)||2.4 GHz||8||2.422 GHz, 2.425 GHz, 2.4305 GHz, 2.432 GHz, 2.442 GHz, 2.452 GHz, 2.460 GHz, 2.462 GHz||DSSS/DQPSK||32 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
|France||2.4 GHz||2||2.460 GHz and 2.462 GHz||DSSS/DQPSK||32 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
|Australia||2.4 GHz||4||2.422 GHz, 2.425 GHz, 2.432 GHz, 2.442 GHz||DSSS/DQPSK||32 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
|Japan||2.4 GHz||1||2.484 GHz||DSSS/DQPSK||32 mW||2 Mbit/s||CSMA/CA||16-bit network ID and optional DES encryption|
Linux has included support for ISA Classic WaveLAN cards since the 2.0.37 kernel, while full support for the PC card Classic WaveLAN cards came later. Status of support for MCA Classic Wavelan cards is unknown.
FreeBSD version 2.2.1-upand the Mach4 kernel have had native support for the ISA Classic WaveLAN cards for several years. OpenBSD and NetBSD do not natively support any of the Classic WaveLAN cards.
Several open-source projects, such as NdisWrapper and Project Evil, currently exist that allow the use of NDIS drivers via a "wrapper". This allows non-Windows OS' to utilize the near-universal nature of drivers written for the Windows platform to the benefit of other operating systems, such as Linux, FreeBSD, and ZETA.
Classic WaveLAN technology was available for the MCA, ISA/EISA, and PCMCIA interfaces:
AirPort is the name given to a series of products by Apple Inc. using the (Wi-Fi) protocols. These products comprise a number of wireless routers and wireless cards. The AirPort Extreme name was originally intended to signify the addition of the 802.11g protocol to these products.
A network interface controller is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network.
PHY is an abbreviation for the physical layer of the OSI model and refers to the circuitry required to implement physical layer functions.
A wireless network interface controller (WNIC) is a network interface controller which connects to a wireless radio-based computer network, rather than a wired network, such as Token Ring or Ethernet. A WNIC, just like other NICs, works on the Layer 1 and Layer 2 of the OSI Model. This card uses an antenna to communicate via microwave radiation. A WNIC in a desktop computer is traditionally connected using the PCI bus. Other connectivity options are USB and PC card. Integrated WNICs are also available,.
Ralink Technology, Corp. was a Wi-Fi chipset manufacturer mainly known for their IEEE 802.11 chipsets. Ralink was founded in 2001 in Cupertino, California, then moved its headquarters to Hsinchu, Taiwan.
IEEE 802.11n-2009, commonly shortened to 802.11n, is a wireless-networking standard that uses multiple antennas to increase data rates. Wi-Fi Alliance have also labelled the technology for the standard as Wi-Fi 4. It standardized support for multiple-input multiple-output, frame aggregation, and security improvements, among other features, and can be used in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands.
Qualcomm Atheros is a developer of semiconductors for network communications, particularly wireless chipsets. Founded under the name T-Span Systems in 1998 by experts in signal processing and VLSI design from Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and private industry. The company was renamed Atheros Communications in 2000 and it completed an initial public offering in February 2004 trading on NASDAQ under the symbol ATHR.
ORiNOCO was the brand name for a family of wireless networking technology by Proxim Wireless. These integrated circuits provide wireless connectivity for 802.11-compliant Wireless LANs.
Cisco Aironet is a maker of wireless networking equipment currently operated as a division of Cisco Systems. It was started by ex-Marconi Wireless employees in 1986 as Telesystems SLW in Canada, right after the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened up the ISM bands for spread spectrum license-free use. Telxon acquired Telesystems SLW in 1992, and Aironet Wireless Communications was spun off from Telxon's RF Division in 1994. Cisco Systems acquired Aironet in 1999.
ARLAN is a family of both proprietary non-802.11 and 802.11-compliant wireless networking technologies developed and marketed by Aironet Wireless Communications in the 1990s prior to Aironet's acquisition by Cisco Systems. Operating in the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz ISM bands and offering a nominal 2.0 Mbit/s throughput, the non-802.11 DSSS products competed directly with NCR's WaveLAN technology. After acquisition, the ARLAN lineup was renamed to Cisco Aironet; the non-802.11 products were supported briefly then discontinued.
IEEE 802.11 – or more correctly IEEE 802.11-1997 or IEEE 802.11-1999 – refer to the original version of the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard released in 1997 and clarified in 1999. Most of the protocols described by this early version are rarely used today.
IEEE 802.11b-1999 or 802.11b, is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking specification that extends throughput up to 11 Mbit/s using the same 2.4GHz band. A related amendment was incorporated into the IEEE 802.11-2007 standard.
IEEE 802.11g-2003 or 802.11g is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 specification that extended throughput to up to 54 Mbit/s using the same 2.4 GHz band as 802.11b. This specification under the marketing name of Wi-Fi has been implemented all over the world. The 802.11g protocol is now Clause 19 of the published IEEE 802.11-2007 standard, and Clause 19 of the published IEEE 802.11-2012 standard.
IEEE 802.15.4a was an amendment to IEEE 802.15.4-2006 specifying that additional physical layers (PHYs) be added to the original standard. It has been merged into and is superseded by IEEE 802.15.4-2011.
Proprietary firmware is any firmware on which the producer has set restrictions on use, private modification, copying, or republishing.
The Wireless LAN Interoperability Forum (WLIF) was a non-profit industry organization founded in 1996 to promote and certify wireless LAN products. It was active from about 1996 through 1998 and disbanded in 2001.
IEEE 802.11ad is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard, developed to provide a Multiple Gigabit Wireless System (MGWS) standard at 60 GHz frequency, and is a networking standard for WiGig networks. Because it uses the V band of millimeter wave (mmW) frequency, the range of IEEE 802.11ad communication would be rather limited compared to other conventional Wi-Fi systems. However, the high frequency allows it to use more bandwidth which in turn enables the transmission of data at high data rates up to multiple gigabits per second, enabling usage scenarios like transmission of uncompressed UHD video over the wireless network.
IEEE 802.11ah is a wireless networking protocol published in 2017 to be called Wi-Fi HaLow as an amendment of the IEEE 802.11-2007 wireless networking standard. It uses 900 MHz license exempt bands to provide extended range Wi-Fi networks, compared to conventional Wi-Fi networks operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. It also benefits from lower energy consumption, allowing the creation of large groups of stations or sensors that cooperate to share signals, supporting the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). The protocol's low power consumption competes with Bluetooth and has the added benefit of higher data rates and wider coverage range.
3Com 3c509 is a line of Ethernet IEEE 802.3 network cards for the ISA, EISA, MCA and PCMCIA computer buses. It was designed by 3Com, and put on the market in 1994.