A CDE Definition
The standard wireless local area network (WLAN) technology for connecting computers and myriad electronic devices to each other and to the Internet. Wi-Fi is the wireless version of a wired Ethernet network, and it is commonly deployed alongside it (see Ethernet).
Every laptop, tablet and smartphone comes with Wi-Fi, as well as most security cameras and home theater devices. Printers and scanners may also support Wi-Fi, and home appliances increasingly use it for control and notifications. Although it must have been inspired by "high fidelity" (hi-fi), the name does not mean "wireless fidelity." To learn how Wi-Fi fits into the home and office, see wireless LAN, wireless router and Wi-Fi hotspot.
Wi-Fi Is Officially IEEE 802.11
Wi-Fi is the common name for the IEEE 802.11 standard. For details and history of Wi-Fi, see 802.11 and 802.11 versions. The Wi-Fi Alliance certifies that network devices comply with the IEEE 802.11 standards. See Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Passive Wi-Fi, Muni Wi-Fi, wireless mesh network, Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet and cellular vs. Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi-Enabled Washing Machine
Wireless and Wired Together
Ceiling-Mounted and Desktop Access Points
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Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.