Garin Livingstone and Gavin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Inc.
Wi-Fi is not an abbreviation for wireless fidelity1; it is a trademarked phrase that refers to wireless communication between electronic devices and a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) based on the IEEE 802.11x standards.
Wi-Fi is brought to us by the Wi-Fi Alliance®, a worldwide network of companies with the mission to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi globally. The Wi-Fi Alliance tests and certifies that WLAN equipment meets its stated standards.
Current standards include:
Speeds have grown substantially, now rocketing up to a potential 1,300Mbps using the latest WiGig™, 802.11ac, standard (although actual performance is typically significantly less than its potential).
At their core; wireless networks are less secure than wired networks (since a potential intruders does not need a physical connection), although encryption technologies (Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA and WPA2) exist to secure WLANs.
Large-scale Wi-Fi implementations include:
- City-wide Wi-Fi – Free Wi-Fi provided in St. Cloud, FL, Sunnyvale, CA, etc.
- Campus-wide Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi throughout a campus environment
1See ‘Wireless Fidelity’ Debunked by Naomi Graychase of WiFi Planet.
2See WikipediA IEEE 802.11.