Wireless Fidelity: The Rundown

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Do you belong to the group of people that thinks Wireless Fidelity is the full form of Wi-Fi? If so, don’t worry because you’re a part of the majority and this blog is just the thing to educate you. Read on to find out what Wireless Fidelity means, how it’s different from Wi-Fi, and how the two came to be used interchangeably.

What is Wireless Fidelity?

The term Wireless Fidelity is made up of the words “Wireless”, meaning using waves instead of cables for signal transfer, and “Fidelity”, meaning lasting support. As this break-up would suggest, Wireless Fidelity is a term used to define data technology that allows people access to high-speed internet without the need for cables. A common misconception is that Wireless Fidelity is an expansion of “Wi-Fi”.  One is forgiven for believing this piece of misinformation since a Google search for “Wi-Fi full form” confidently presents Wireless Fidelity as the result. In truth, Wi-Fi was created just as a more marketable trademark term for the technical-sounding “IEEE 802.11” one.

Wi-Fi itself refers to the popular wireless network technology which enables a Wireless Local Area Network, or WLAN. We know that the gadgets we use every day like mobile phones, laptops, smart TVs, etc., all have Wi-Fi capabilities. What this means is that these devices support frequencies at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are distinct from those used for phone, TV, and radio signals to prevent interference.

Does Wi-Fi Really Mean Wireless Fidelity?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: The term Wi-Fi was coined by a brand-consulting company called Interbrand in 1999 for the company promoting the technology called Wi-Fi Alliance as a more memorable name as compared to the technical name “IEEE 802.11”. The accidental association between the two was formed when Wi-Fi Alliance released a piece of communication containing a tagline for Wi-Fi which read: “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity”. This was just a promotion attempt by the company to make it easier for the home market to understand what Wi-Fi meant. What ended up happening, however, was that people came to believe that Wi-Fi in fact stood for Wireless Fidelity.

Wi-Fi Alliance has since retracted this tagline and offered clarification but they are choosing to focus on their successful popularisation and acceptance of Wi-Fi as a term. So while Wi-Fi and Wireless Fidelity are close relatives of each other, their meanings are not exactly the same.

What Does the Future of Wi-Fi Look Like?

Internet of Things

The devices and gadgets that surround us have already become an indispensable part of our lives. But technology is at its best when it’s out of your way. This is where the Internet of Things as a concept shines on full display. An interconnected web of your devices all communicating with each other seamlessly has started to become a reality. The advent of Wi-Fi 6 means more and more devices will be able to get connected with each other and the exchange of information between them will get quicker and quicker.

Smart Cities

A robust data network enabling fast Wi-Fi speeds bodes well for the development of smart cities across the country. There is expected to be a dramatic improvement in living conditions through access to services and fast communication. Building and traffic management, along with utilities such as water and waste management are set to benefit.

Personalization

As with most services, personalization seems to be the name of the game when it comes to the future of Wi-Fi also. We are already witnessing a surge of big data-backed curated content, targeted ads, etc. But even Wi-Fi providers themselves may start to offer more personalized offerings as they learn about your speed requirements and consumption patterns with the help of AI and machine learning.

FAQs

Why is it called wireless fidelity?

The term wireless fidelity is formed out of two words: Wireless and Fidelity. Wireless suggests the absence of cables or wires for the transfer of signals and Fidelity means lasting support. These two words combine to spell out the definition of Wireless Fidelity, which is: a data technology that allows people access to high-speed internet without the need for cables.

How does wireless fidelity work?

Wireless fidelity allows for the creation of a Wireless Local Area Network. Much like other wireless technologies, wireless fidelity works by sending signals between devices with the help of certain frequencies of radio signals. Wi-Fi operates on the bandwidths of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Who invented Wi-Fi?

Vic Hayes, the chairman of the IEEE Committee that created 802.11 standards in 1997, is credited with the invention of Wi-Fi. He is even called the “father of Wi-Fi”. Wi-Fi Alliance is the corporation responsible for the commercialisation of Wi-Fi technology.

What is the difference between wireless and Wi-Fi?

Wireless typically refers to a cellular mobile network that allows for internet access on your phone without requiring you to install hardware. Wi-Fi on the other hand can only be accessed through a router that has to be installed. Wireless and Wi-Fi differ in terms of cost, range of signal, and speed of transfer.

2 thoughts on “Wireless Fidelity: The Rundown

  1. Sneha says:

    When I read this then I know the wireless fidelity and it’s a totally new thing thanks for providing this information and it’s very helpful for me.

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