The first IEEE Workshop on Wireless LAN was held in 1991. At that time early wireless LAN products had just appeared in the market and the IEEE 802.11 committee had just started its activities to develop a standard for wireless LANs. The focus of that first workshop was evaluation of the alternative technologies.
Today, the technology is relatively mature, a variety of applications have been identified and addressed and technologies that enable these applications are well understood. Chip sets aimed at wireless LAN implementations and applications, a key enabling technology for rapid market growth, are emerging in the market.
Wireless LANs are used in the hospitals, stock exchanges, and other in building and campus settings for nomadic access, point-to-point LAN bridges, ad-hoc networking, and even larger applications through internetworking. The IEEE 802.11 standard and variants and alternatives, such as the wireless LAN interoperability forum and the European HIPERLAN specification have made rapid progress, and the unlicensed PCS and the proposed SUPERNet bands also present new opportunities. In this fluid environment, deployment and system integration are important technical issues. The key marketing challenge remains the education of potential customers in the effective use of wireless LANs as a vehicle to enhance the capabilities of their networks. This workshop is an important technical forum in the system aspects of wireless LANs, demonstrating the capabilities of the existing technologies and also providing a look into the near term future directions.