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What does Wi-Fi stand for?

What does Wi-Fi stand for?

Wi-Fi became a ubiquitous technology in laptops more than a decade ago and the phrase is in daily use. Now the wireless networking technology can be found in our watches, phones, televisions and smart speakers. We know what it means, but what does Wi-Fi stand for?


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What is Wi-Fi?

For many people the term Wi-Fi is now synonymous with “Internet”. But to be accurate it’s just a wireless connection standard. If you’re using a wireless device then Wi-Fi may be bringing you your internet connection, but it is not the internet.

Wi-Fi is essentially a very advanced digital radio using frequencies between 2 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz in the electromagnetic spectrum, which is around the same area as microwave ovens.


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Wrong Answer

You may have read, or made an educated guess, that Wi-Fi stands for “wireless fidelity” just as Hi-Fi stands for “high fidelity”. It would make sense but you’d be wrong.


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Correct Answer

Wi-Fi doesn’t stand for anything. It is not an acronym. There is no meaning.


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Who invented Wi-Fi?

Who invented Wi-Fi?

A wireless network called ALOHAnet was created in 1971 that connected the Hawaiin islands. Ethernet and Wi-Fi can trace some of their history back to that.

But it was in 1991 that NCR Corporation (which began as a cash register company) and AT&T (which began as a phone company) created the precursor to Wi-Fi as a way of linking cash registers called WaveLAN.

It became so popular that eventually the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the 802.11 standard that we now know as Wi-Fi. In 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance formed as a trade association to trademark Wi-Fi.


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So How Did "Wi-Fi" Come About?

The simple truth is that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) needed a name for their standard that would be easier to remember than “IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence”. So they hired the marketing agency Interbrand to name it and were given the choice of 10 options.

The organization did, in the early days of Wi-Fi, include the tag line “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity”. Because board members found it hard to imagine having a name that didn’t mean anything and wanted to subsequently explain the name that had been invented for them, but the line was quickly dropped.


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Wi-Fi Quote

Wi-Fi Quote

“Pay attention… How a person handles poor cell service, traffic, and spotty wifi is a good indicator of how they’ll behave during relationship challenges.”

-Steve Maraboli


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