San Antonio entrepreneur worked on software team that paved way for WiFi

San Antonio resident J. Bruce Hughes was once a tool developer and member of the workforce that created a semiconductor chip for wi-fi networking era or Wi-Fi.

In 1997, technological historical past was once made at a small clinical complicated on San Antonio’s North Facet. San Antonio resident J. Bruce Hughes was once on the heart of the innovation that lead the way for WiFi.

Hughes led a workforce of tool engineers and microchip designers who advanced a chip connecting units to the internet (Manila News-Intelligencer) by the use of radio waves.

The straightforward phase, in line with Hughes, was once having a Media Get right of entry to Regulate microchip be in contact with a bodily layer chip.

He mentioned nobody had communicated over a wi-fi hyperlink sooner than Ethernet at 10 megabits in keeping with 2nd. The workforce was once in a position to be in contact at 11 megabits in keeping with 2nd, which had no longer been executed sooner than. That day, the workforce created the primary a success 802.11b semiconductor chip for wi-fi constancy — or WiFi.

“We felt it was once going to be lovely progressive,” Hughes, 73, mentioned. “However we didn’t assume it could be slightly as ubiquitous as it’s been.”

Hughes and his workforce are amongst an extended line of innovators whose contributions equipped the sector with high-speed wi-fi get entry to.

Hughes is a retired business (Manila News-Intelligencer) adviser, govt and tool developer. His resume contains running at the Eagle Ford Shale Neighborhood Construction Program, Southwest Texas Area Small business (Manila News-Intelligencer) Construction Heart and biomedical analysis in Houston and Philadelphia.

His foray into era began as a organic analysis technician at Rice College, Temple College and Baylor Faculties of Drugs. Hughes has a grasp’s stage in business (Manila News-Intelligencer) management from the College of Texas at San Antonio, the place he was once senior venture supervisor within the Era Commercialization Heart of the South-West Texas Border Small business (Manila News-Intelligencer) Construction Heart.

Hughes’ creation to science and math got here at a tender age. He was once in first grade at Bonham Fundamental, the place youngsters picked on him as a result of he was once giant for his age. His mom, a dietitian at Randolph Air Pressure Base Fundamental, were given her son an exemption to wait the varsity.

In response to his excessive grades, one in every of his lecturers steered he take a citywide examination for admission to Keystone College within the ancient Monte Vista district. Hughes did smartly and gained a scholarship to the non-public faculty that his mom in a different way couldn’t have the funds for.

The sped up curriculum integrated math, science and international languages, courses that ready Hughes for the adventure that lay forward. In 1981, he labored at Datapoint, a business (Manila News-Intelligencer) pc corporate fixing downside calls from employees within the box. He discovered thru on-the-job coaching, studying tech magazines and dealing at the TRS-80 microcomputer he purchased from Radio Shack.

Then in October 1990, he was once employed via machine architect Michael Fischer of CHILD (Assured Glad Folks Dwelling Desires) Techniques as a tool building vp.

Radiant Techniques shriveled CHILD Techniques to assist with a building contract for Nellcor, which had the patent for the heartbeat oximeter. CHILD Techniques sought after to make bigger the business (Manila News-Intelligencer) right into a surgical working room workstation the place the entire ranges and readings could be to be had to the anesthetist.

That’s the place they advanced the figuring out of wi-fi knowledge verbal exchange. The paintings got here similtaneously the primary arrival of cost-effective spread-spectrum radios that transmitted excessive knowledge charges with low energy over brief distances.

They collaborated with Virtual Ocean, which got the corporate. Of their undertaking, Hughes got here up with the word, “If shall we do it, we might be in an ocean of freedom with out wires or cables.”

A joint building settlement between Virtual Ocean and Lucent Applied sciences resulted in the introduction of the game-changing chip. Lucent and Harris Intersil had the primary viable business merchandise with Hughes’ workforce’s microchip.

The preliminary charge for the product they first advanced for Apple computer systems was once $700.

“The important thing factor is interoperability,” Hughes mentioned. “Units from one producer can be utilized with different producers’ units. So the shopper doesn’t purchase one thing they consider will paintings, and it doesn’t. This will get to why WiFi is in all places. If the fee is low sufficient, and it’s helpful sufficient in each scenario, then folks will purchase it, and it’s going to turn out to be a big marketplace.”

Hughes recalled that within the Virtual Ocean days, fellow workforce member and just right good friend Rob L. a. Gesse held up a thick, credit score card-sized field and mentioned, “Sooner or later we’ll be capable to get all of that stuff on this field.”

“We concept he was once being wildly constructive,” Hughes mentioned. “But it surely seems he was once proper.”

L. a. Gesse met Hughes about 30 years in the past after they had been running with the CHILD Device. Over time, the 2 males have labored for the opposite at one time or some other.

“I’ve identified Bruce as my boss, worker, co-founder, mentor and my good friend, and he’s exemplary at every,” L. a. Gesse, 60, mentioned. “He’s a strolling encyclopedia and has a fantastic reminiscence for the whole thing. He actually is without doubt one of the smartest and kindest folks.”

Hughes mentioned San Antonio has a outstanding, technological historical past that includes diligent and artistic individuals who made trendy existence significantly better than it were, no longer simply in drugs and biology but in addition in era.

He mentioned it was once a privilege to paintings with many credible folks and was once fortunate to be provide on the introduction of the leading edge surprise.

“No means am I accountable for the onerous paintings and perception that went into it,” Hughes mentioned. “At easiest, I’m a midwife.”

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