The global origins of Wi-Fi networks. The battle of the wireless imaginaries
Maria Rikitianskaia, London School of Economics
Wi-Fi networks are one of the leading technologies among many wireless communicative formats. Nevertheless, few technologies, except for running water and electricity, are as integrated as Wi-Fi with contemporary expectations of normally functioning infrastructure and day-to-day experience. Maria Rikitianskaia’s talk presents a transnational perspective on an underexplored history of Wi-Fi networks, also known as IEEE 802.11 standards. It focuses on the debates, negotiations, and conflicts through which the Wi-Fi standard was co-constructed, growing out from the interpretative flexibility into the point of stabilization. This talk also reveals the socio-technological visions on wireless future, which could also be considered wireless imaginaries. The talk situates Wi-Fi standardization within a larger debate of radio spectrum management, computing industry, and mobile phone networks, allowing for a deeper understanding of the global proliferation of wireless networks.
Dr Maria Rikitianskaia is a Lecturer in Media and Communications at Regent's University London. Before that, she worked in the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics and Political Sciences and at USI Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. She received a PhD degree in Communication Sciences (summa cum laude) in 2018 from USI Lugano and BA and MA degrees in Cultural Studies (with the highest distinction) from Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. Her research lies on the intersection of media history, political economy of communication, and science and technology studies.