Artifact Details


Ennis, Greg (Gregory) oral history and panel session

Catalog Number





You are probably reading this over Wi-Fi. As of 2021 over four billion Wi-Fi-equipped devices were being shipped each year. Originally called “Wireless Ethernet,” Wi-Fi is designed to interwork seamlessly with its wired sibling, Ethernet.
In the early 1990s Greg Ennis served as a technical editor for the wireless local area networking standard that evolved into Wi-Fi, and served as Technical Editor for the final approved standard in 1997. Two years later he helped found the industry organization now known as the Wi-Fi Alliance, and would hold that organization’s chief technical leadership position until he retired in 2016.
Your wireless router likely passed testing by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Its central mission is to test devices to make sure they are genuinely Wi-Fi compatible. The Alliance coined the term “Wi-Fi” in 1999, and members include hundreds of companies from around the world. It has certified tens of thousands of products at test laboratories in seven countries.
Ennis had gotten into networking early in his career. In the early 1980s he consulted on the early development of internet protocols (TCP/IP) to the “Protocol Standards Technical Panel” of the US Defense Communications Agency (DCA). DCA had just taken on the management of Internet protocol development.
By the end of the decade Greg was designing radio-based systems for cable television data networks – in a sense developing the very first cable modems -- while serving as Director of Engineering for Network Architecture at Sytek, an early leader in the LAN industry. At Sytek he developed the original NETBIOS protocols for IBM, establishing a key application interface still used today for LAN applications.
His wireless work continued in 1990 with the design of protocols used within large networks of handheld financial trading terminals, before his roles in the nascent Wi-Fi standard as described above.
Ennis has a Master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin (minor in computer science), and a second Master’s degree in computer engineering from Stanford University. Ennis graduated “With Great Distinction” from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in mathematics.




Cohen, David, Interviewer
Dennis, Eric, Videographer
Ennis, Gregory, Interviewee
Weber, Marc, Moderator


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA


47 p.



Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum



Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number