October 25 2022: At a function in Washington DC (US)last week, the non-profit Wireless History Foundation, inducted four pioneering innovators into the Wireless Hall of Fame. Two of them were born in India and their work has played a crucial role in broadening the spread of 5G and wireless Internet worldwide, including India.
Dr Arogyaswami Paulraj, Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, was inducted for his invention of Multiple-Input Multiple-Output or MIMO a technology which sharply increases the data capacity of wireless networks by placing multiple antennas at both the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver) of a communication service like 4G or 5G. Today, MIMO is harnessed by billions of devices from mobile phones to home WiFi routers.
Neera Singh, an IIT Kanpur alumnus, developed software that could detect and calculate interference at radio towers when setting up new mobile phone systems, helping telecom companies to avoid huge losses. She went on to co-found LCC International which set up wireless networks around the world.
Interestingly, this recognition of the historical contribution of two Indian-origin innovators comes at a time when the wireless industry in India is poised to roll out interesting new avatars of wireless – specifically WiFi 6E and WiFi from 5G networks. (See companion piece here)
The other two inductees were Dan Hesse who has headed two of the world’s largest wireless carriers, AT&T Wireless and Sprint -- and Stuart Subotnik a pioneer of wireless paging.
Mr Hesse redefined the way wireless services are sold and delivered to customers, in multiple wireless generations. As an industry leader, Mr. Hesse also championed sustainability and corporate responsibility issues not only at his company, but across the entire industry.
Mr. Subotnick orchestrated early player Metromedia’s huge leap of faith in the potential of cellular– bringing capital from new sources to create a world changing industry. He devised Metromedia’s cellular strategy and established the financial engineering to acquire seven of the largest U. S. paging companies.