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Last modified: Friday, January 16, 2004 

Short for wireless fidelity and is meant to be used generically when referring of any type of 802.11 network, whether 802.11b, 802.11a, dual-band, etc. The term is promulgated by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Any products tested and approved as "Wi-Fi Certified" (a registered trademark) by the Wi-Fi Alliance are certified as interoperable with each other, even if they are from different manufacturers. A user with a "Wi-Fi Certified" product can use any brand of access point with any other brand of client hardware that also is certified. Typically, however, any Wi-Fi product using the same radio frequency (for example, 2.4GHz for 802.11b or 11g, 5GHz for 802.11a) will work with any other, even if not "Wi-Fi Certified."

Formerly, the term "Wi-Fi" was used only in place of the 2.4GHz 802.11b standard, in the same way that "Ethernet" is used in place of IEEE 802.3. The Alliance expanded the generic use of the term in an attempt to stop confusion about wireless LAN interoperability.

Also see the Wireless LAN Standards chart in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

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For pages about Wi-Fi . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Minimizing 802.11 Interference Issues 
RF interference will continue to plague current and future 802.11b implementations unless an adequate site survey is conducted - preferably prior to actual network installation.

Wi-Fi Planet 
802.11 news, commentary and information. 
Search this directory for Wi-Fi hotspots in your region.

Wireless Networking Q & A 
This article from Vicomsoft explains in detail the basics of wireless networking.

802.11a: Making Space for Speed
With so much talk about 802.11b, what about 802.11a?

A Short Tutorial on Wireless LANs and IEEE 802.11
This article will try to answer some basic questions of why and where wireless local area networks can be used, and present a brief description of some protocols that have been developed, with emphasis on IEEE 802.11.
A resource center for IEEE 802.11.

Tools Simplify 802.11 Deployments
Wireless LAN installation is tricky. The construction of a facility and silent sources of RF interference impact the propagation of radio waves, often in odd ways.

Wi-Fi Alliance
A resource page for Wi-Fi technology.

Wireless - FAQ
Northwestern University Information Technology's wireless network frequently asked questions. Provides information on Macintosh and Windows.

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related categories

Communications Standards

Wireless Computing

related terms


ad-hoc mode




infrastructure mode

Mobile IP


Shared Wireless Access Protocol






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