Telecommunications Industry News
What is the True Meaning of Wi-Fi?10:10 am on December 26, 2005 | Category: Editorials, Wi-Fi, Wireless Technology
For years, it has been understood that the acronym Wi-Fi was short for “Wireless Fidelity”. Recently, however, there has been a dust up of debate about whether this is really the case.
Apparently, when the Wi-Fi Alliance (then called the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance) first begun trying to brand their new wireless networking technology, they couldn’t agree on a name. So the Alliance decided to call up Interbrand, the well-known branding company responsible for such names as Prozac and Compaq.
Interbrand came up with a handful of names, and “Wi-Fi” was quickly determined to be the best. It is important to note that this brand wasn’t originally supposed to mean anything, except to be a pun on the term “Hi-Fi” (High Fidelity).
Of course, when people saw this name, they immediately wanted to give it a meaning. Customers begun asking what the acronym stood for, so the Alliance began calling it “Wireless Fidelity” and it stuck.
The recent debate on this issue stems from the fact that “Wireless Fidelity” literally means, well, absolutely nothing. It was just a convenient way of fusing “Wireless” with “high-fidelity”.
But think a little deeper and you’ll realize that the very name Wi-Fi is non existent. It’s just a pun on an earlier phrase that happened to include the word Fidelity.
The fact of the matter is, however, that it is now a household term used to describe the world’s most popular wireless networking protocol. That, in itself, has given it meaning, and “Wireless Fidelity” was branded right along with it from the beginning.
So yes, in reality, the term doesn’t mean anything by itself, but neither does the abbreviation. The simple fact is that they are both arbitrary brand names, and neither has any more literal meaning than the other.
The fact that they have been used and continue to be used, gives them both the power of co-existent association, and that can be just as real that any literal meaning.
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Published by TeleClick Enterprises
Edited by Jeremy Maddock