This past week, a family member asked me a question related to my post about the better workplace coffeehouse, in which I mentioned the term Wi-Fi multiple times. The question wasn’t about what Wi-Fi refers to (wireless Internet access), but about what Wi-Fi stands for. Specifically, the question was if the term Wi-Fi was somehow related to Hi-Fi (high fidelity) and if Wi-Fi actually means “wireless fidelity.”
It turns out the answer is no. Wi-Fi doesn’t actually stand for anything. According to this article from BoingBoing:
“Wi-Fi doesn’t stand for anything.
It is not an acronym. There is no meaning.
Wi-Fi and the ying yang style logo were invented by Interbrand. [The founding members of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, now called the Wi-Fi Alliance] hired Interbrand to come up with the name and logo that [they] could use for [their] interoperability seal and marketing efforts. [They] needed something that was a little catchier than “IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence”.”
According to Internet.com, some of the losing names that Interbrand suggested were Skybridge, Torchlight, Flyover, Transpeed and Elevate.
UPDATE: Thanks to an awesome comment by a reader (Thanks MixtLupus – check out his blog here), it turns out that Wi-Fi does indeed stand for Wireless Fidelity. I couldn’t access the knowledge base (anyone who can and sends me a screenshot, I will be indebted!) but here is the small piece that I could see.