Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. A common misconception is that the term Wi-Fi is short for “wireless fidelity,” however this is not the case. Wi-Fi is simply a trademarked phrase that means IEEE 802.11x.
The Wi-Fi Alliance
The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the Wi-Fi registered trademark term specifically defines Wi-Fi as any “wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 standards.”
Initially, Wi-Fi was used in place of only the 2.4GHz 802.11b standard, however the Wi-Fi Alliance has expanded the generic use of the Wi-Fi term to include any type of network or WLAN product based on any of the 802.11 standards, including 802.11b, 802.11a, dual-band, and so on, in an attempt to stop confusion about wireless LAN interoperability.
How Wi-Fi Works
Wi-Fi works with no physical wired connection between sender and receiver by using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space.
The cornerstone of any wireless network is an access point (AP). The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and “tune” into. In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers and devices must be equipped with wireless network adapters (See “How Wireless Networks Work” in the “Did You Know…” section of
This term was created by the Wi-Fi Alliance to refer to wireless LAN products based on the IEEE 802.11a specification that operates in the 5GHz radio frequency band. However, the use of the term has been officially discontinued to avoid confusion. All 802.11-based products, whether 802.11a, 802.11b or otherwise, are now supposed to be generically […]
- Wi-Fi Alliance
An organization made up of leading wireless equipment and software providers with the missions of certifying all 802.11-based products for interoperability and promoting the term Wi-Fi as the global brand name across all markets for any 802.11-based wireless LAN products. While all 802.11a/b/g products are called Wi-Fi, only products that have passed the Wi-Fi Alliance […]
- Wi-Fi Protected Setup
Abbreviated as WPS, Wi-Fi Protected Setup is an optional Wi-Fi Alliance certification program that is designed to enable users with little knowledge of Wi-Fi configuration and security settings to configure new wireless networks, and also add new devices and enable security. Wi-Fi Protected Setup supports Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11 products including consumer electronics and phones, as […]
- Wi-Fi detector
A device used to detect and analyze the presence of Wi-Fi networks (hotspots). A WiFi detector can be a standalone handheld device that requires batteries to operate or a USB device that can be connected to your computer or laptop. A typical WiFi detector will show both the presence of a signal, detect WEP or […]
- Wi-Fi enabled
The term used to describe any device that has build-in support for Wi-Fi, a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections.