The term Wi-Fi, first used commercially in August 1999, was coined by a brand-consulting firm called Inter-brand Corporation. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Inter-brand to determine a name that was "a little catchier than 'IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence'". Belanger also stated that Inter-brand invented Wi-Fi as a play on words with Hi-Fi (high fidelity), and also created the Wi-Fi logo. The Wi-Fi Alliance initially used the advertising slogan, "The Standard for Wireless Fidelity” for Wi-Fi but later removed the phrase from their marketing. Despite this, some documents from the Alliance dated 2003 and 2004 still contain the term Wireless Fidelity. There was no official statement related to the dropping of the term. The yin-yang Wi-Fi logo indicates the certification of a product for interoperability. Non-Wi-Fi technologies intended for fixed points such as Motorola Canopy are usually described as fixed wireless. Alternative wireless technologies include mobile phone standards such as 2G, 3G or 4G. Wi-Fi certification
The IEEE does not test equipment for compliance with their standards. The non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance was formed in 1999 to fill this void — to establish and enforce standards for interoperability and backward compatibility, and to promote wireless local-area-network technology. As of 2010, the Wi-Fi Alliance consisted of more than 375 companies from around the world. The Wi-Fi Alliance enforces the use of the Wi-Fi brand to technologies based on the IEEE 802.11 standards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This includes wireless local area network (WLAN) connections, device to device connectivity (such as Wi-Fi Peer to Peer aka Wi-Fi Direct), Personal area network (PAN), local area network (LAN) and even some limited wide area network (WAN) connections. Manufacturers with membership in the Wi-Fi Alliance, whose products pass the certification process, gain the right to mark those products with the Wi-Fi logo. Specifically, the certification process requires conformance to the IEEE 802.11 radio standards, the WPA and WPA2 security standards, and the EAP authentication standard. Certification may optionally include tests of IEEE 802.11 draft standards, interaction with cellular-phone technology in converged devices, and features relating to security set-up, multimedia, and power-saving. Not every Wi-Fi device is submitted for certification. The lack of Wi-Fi certification does not necessarily imply that a device is incompatible with other Wi-Fi devices. If it is compliant or partly compatible, the Wi-Fi Alliance may not object to its description as a Wi-Fi device though technically only certified devices are approved. Derivative terms, such as super Wi-Fi, coined by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to describe proposed networking in the UHF TV band in the US, may or may not be sanctioned.
A sticker indicating to the public that a location is within range of a Wi-Fi network. A dot with curved lines radiating from it is a common symbol for Wi-Fi, representing a point transmitting a signal. To connect to a Wi-Fi LAN, a computer has to be equipped with a wireless network interface controller. The combination of computer and interface controller is called a station. All stations share a single radio frequency communication channel. Transmissions on this channel are received by all stations within range. The hardware does not signal the user that the transmission was delivered and is therefore called a best-effort delivery mechanism. A carrier wave is used to transmit the data in packets, referred to as "Ethernet frames". Each station is constantly tuned in on the radio frequency communication channel to pick up available transmissions. Internet access
A Wi-Fi-enabled device can connect to the Internet when within range of a wireless network. The coverage of one or more (interconnected) access points — called hotspots — can extend...