Excerpt from The PC Pioneers
On this day in 1941, Vic Hayes was born, he developed WaveLAN as an alternative to Ethernet, and this later for his development of the Wi-Fi standard earned the sobriquet the ‘father of Wi-Fi’:
What may have appeared as something of an aside later came back to make a major contribution to this market. Vic Hayes was born in Indonesia and lived in the Netherlands. He qualified in electrical engineering in 1961 and at first worked at Friden.
He joined NCR Systems Laboratory in 1974 to investigate standards for connecting stockbroker users of NCR terminals. Hayes established a series of protocols for a wireless system for cashiers, one of these being how an email might be handled wirelessly. This early work resulted in WaveLAN, a wireless alternative to Ethernet.
Hayes then turned his attention fully to WLANs (wireless local area networks). But standardisation was elusive. Progress was only achieved after Hayes was appointed in 1990 to chair the IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers) standards committee.
Hayes gathered experts from around the industry and they thrashed out the WLAN standard by 1996. Formally known as 802.11 it was popularised as Wi-Fi, and Hayes is considered to be the ‘father of Wi-Fi’. Wi-Fi itself stood for wireless fidelity.
The service is also defined to allow phone calls though this has not been broadly implemented.
Hayes went on to become a senior research fellow at the Delft University of Technology.