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Licence‐exempt: the emergence of Wi‐Fi

Licence‐exempt: the emergence of Wi‐Fi Purpose – This paper aims to provide a description of the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi, or how the industry exploited an opportunity provided by the regulators in allowing radio communications in the unlicensed bands originally allocated for industrial, medical and scientific applications. Design/methodology/approach – The longitudinal case describes the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi, with a focus on the interplay between regulation, innovation, standardization, and running a successful business. Findings – The paper argues that the current day success of Wi‐Fi is a combined result of: a change in the US communications policy in the 1980s; the industry leadership provided by NCR, its successors and collaborators, to create a global standard and to deliver compatible products under the Wi‐Fi label; and the influence of the users that moved the application of Wireless‐LANs from the enterprise to the home, from indoor to outdoor use, from a communications product to a service, and from operators to end‐users as the provider of that service. Research limitations/implications – The exploration and analysis are based on contributions by experts from the field, having been involved “first hand” in the innovation journey of Wi‐Fi. Practical implications – The case describes the first globally successful large‐scale application of radio communication devices operating under a licence‐exempt radio frequency regime. The case is a contemporary example of innovation and product development leading to an open standard. In concluding the paper reflects on the implications of this licence‐exempt case for the governance of the radio spectrum. Originality/value – While many articles and books have appeared discussing the technical aspects of Wi‐Fi, the case description documents the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi from an entrepreneurial perspective. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png info Emerald Publishing

Licence‐exempt: the emergence of Wi‐Fi

info , Volume 11 (5): 15 – Aug 14, 2009

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1463-6697
DOI
10.1108/14636690910989333
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to provide a description of the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi, or how the industry exploited an opportunity provided by the regulators in allowing radio communications in the unlicensed bands originally allocated for industrial, medical and scientific applications. Design/methodology/approach – The longitudinal case describes the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi, with a focus on the interplay between regulation, innovation, standardization, and running a successful business. Findings – The paper argues that the current day success of Wi‐Fi is a combined result of: a change in the US communications policy in the 1980s; the industry leadership provided by NCR, its successors and collaborators, to create a global standard and to deliver compatible products under the Wi‐Fi label; and the influence of the users that moved the application of Wireless‐LANs from the enterprise to the home, from indoor to outdoor use, from a communications product to a service, and from operators to end‐users as the provider of that service. Research limitations/implications – The exploration and analysis are based on contributions by experts from the field, having been involved “first hand” in the innovation journey of Wi‐Fi. Practical implications – The case describes the first globally successful large‐scale application of radio communication devices operating under a licence‐exempt radio frequency regime. The case is a contemporary example of innovation and product development leading to an open standard. In concluding the paper reflects on the implications of this licence‐exempt case for the governance of the radio spectrum. Originality/value – While many articles and books have appeared discussing the technical aspects of Wi‐Fi, the case description documents the genesis and development of Wi‐Fi from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Journal

infoEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 14, 2009

Keywords: Communication technologies; Governance; Innovation; Marketing strategy; Radio frequencies; Case studies

References