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 â€œWireless Fidelityâ€. 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 couldnâ€™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 â€œWi-Fiâ€ was quickly determined to be the best. It is important to note that this brand wasnâ€™t originally supposed to mean anything, except to be a pun on the term â€œHi-Fiâ€ (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 begun calling it â€œWireless Fidelityâ€ â€“ and it stuck.
The recent debate on this issue stems from the fact that â€œWireless Fidelityâ€ literally means, well, absolutely nothing. It was just a convenient way of fusing â€œWirelessâ€ with â€œhigh-fidelityâ€.
But think a little deeper and youâ€™ll realize that the very name Wi-Fi is non existent. Itâ€™s just a pun on an earlier phrase that happened to include the word â€œFidelityâ€.
The fact of the matter is, however, that it is now a household term used to describe the worldâ€™s most popular wireless networking protocol. That, in itself, has given it meaning, and â€œWireless Fidelityâ€ was branded right along with it from the beginning.
So yes, in reality, the term doesnâ€™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.
Because they have been used, however, and continue to be used, gives them both the power of co-existent association. And thatâ€™s more real that any literal meaning Iâ€™ve ever seen.
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Published by TeleClick Enterprises
Edited by Jeremy Maddock