An IEEE milestone for the development of the first form of Wi-Fi was dedicated on 29 October 2019 in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands. The first prototype of WaverLAN was shown in 1987 by an NCR team in Nieuwegein.
A Milestone plaque was presented by 2019 IEEE President José Moura, and it was accepted by the mayor of Nieuwegein, Frans Backhuijs. The unveiling ceremony was conducted by both men. The plaque is on display at the entrance of the city hall of Nieuwegein.
The dedication was celebrated with an all-day symposium, “Wi-Fi, Past, Present and Future,” which brought together people who influenced the invention of WaveLAN and later the commercialization of Wi-Fi. The symposium held presentations that reflected on Wi-Fi in the past, today, and in the future. The speakers educated, inspired, and updated attendees on the latest industry trends. Our speakers didn’t just talk about Wi-Fi, but brought an exciting mix of visionary presenations and insightful content on this exciting technology that we all use today.
Our 160 attendees included former employees, industry delegates, academics, local affiliations, press and media. Former coworkers met and connected with industry leaders, experts, and influencers to celebrate this exclusive event. It was organized and sponsored by Qorvo, Municipality of Nieuwegein, IEEE Benelux Section, Nokia, and three IEEE Benelux Chapters (Communication and Vehicular Technology, Signal Processing, and Information Theory).
The symposium was held in theater “De Kom” opposite town hall. In the entrance hall of the theater, where the attendees were welcomed, was a showcase with first prototypes, early commercial products, Apple Airport, and an Apple laptop comprising the first commercial version of WaveLAN. After a welcome message by the chair of the organizing committee, Wim van Etten, Michael Marcus presented the work by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on licenced versus unlicenced spectrum. A few speakers followed who were members of the development team of NCR in the late 1980s and 1990s. Bruce Tuch spoke about early WaveLAN products, Vic Hayes recounted the first years of IEEE 802.11, Angela Champness presented on the marketing of WaveLAN products, and Cees Links detailed the breakthrough in acceptance of Wireless LANs.
After lunch, Dorothy Stanley discussed perspectives on IEEE Standards today. Two representatives of Wi-Fi organizations, Edgar Figueroa of the Wi-Fi Alliance and Claus Hetting of Wi-Fi NOW, provided their views on the potential and future of Wi-Fi products. After a coffee break, Wim van Etten presented an overview of the IEEE and its activities and he ended with his insights on the IEEE Benelux Section. Moura gave a Milestone Dedication Presentation after which he and Backhuijs unveiled the plaque, which Backhuijs acknowledged during his acceptance speech.