Wi-Fi is one of the greatest technology success stories of the high-tech era, which began in earnest in 1999. During that year, Steve Jobs famously introduced consumers to Wi-Fi by passing the new iBook laptop through a hula hoop to show off its wireless internet connection. We no longer had to be tethered to a cord to be online!

It was also in 1999 when Wi-Fi Alliance was established to provide multi-vendor interoperability for wireless networking products and deliver a better connectivity experience. Wi-Fi Alliance coined the term “Wi-Fi” and created its yin-yang logo to establish a consumer-friendly way to identify the new technology.

This year, Wi-Fi is celebrating 25 years as an integral part of our lives at home, at work, and virtually everywhere else we go. Private Wi-Fi networks and public hotspots offer convenient internet access to mobile devices such as our laptops, tablets, and phones. Current encryption technologies make Wi-Fi secure, keeping out most unwanted intruders from wireless communications.

As Wi-Fi became faster and more sophisticated, the devices connected to it got “smarter.” Thanks in part to Wi-Fi, we’re now enjoying all kinds of smart home appliances and other devices including smart thermostats, security cameras, video doorbells, speakers, refrigerators, and more. It’s all part of a phenomenon known as the Internet of Things (IoT), where consumer electronics and computing devices become interconnected and exchange information. Wi-Fi.org refers to IoT as “one of the most exciting waves of innovation the world has witnessed” and predicts “its potential has only just begun to emerge.”

We don’t expect you to bake a cake for Wi-Fi and put 25 candles on it. However, the next time you look at the Wi-Fi icon on your device, think about all the innovators since 1999 who helped make it possible.

If you’d rather not deal with home Wi-Fi network setup, troubleshooting, and updates on your own, sign up for PSC Fiber’s SmartChoice Residential Managed Wi-Fi service. For a small monthly fee, we’ll handle many tasks for you. To learn more, call 1.800.511.4899.