Wireless LAN or wifi or Wi-Fi or WiFi?

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Wireless LAN or wifi or Wi-Fi or WiFi?

22 Replies 22
Here to help

As my CCNA teacher in University said it: "WiFi is only marketing term and there is no such thing in real life and I will smack you with large trout if you use any other term than Wireless LAN" 😄



Did you ever dared to call it  802.11 (IEEE)?

@GeorgeFrendl So people can look at you like you have 2 heads? 802 dot WHAT?! lol


That would have been my mom trying to explain to her.  At least she doesn't call it *The* WiFi.  🙂

@kYutobi Yup 🙂 Exactly. I think WiFi is fun nickname that stuck (actually, originally a pun on HiFi). This is a battle of populatity as allways. I dare to say 'similarly' as it happened in the OSI vs TCP/IP battle. The popular one wins, regardless of the fact some people would like to prescribe... Still, this is 'just' a naming game.

Well I guess Wi-Fi will definitely get used more now that Wi-Fi 6 is coming.

I completely forgot about the new Wi-Fi standards 1,2,3 etc...until you mentioned them!


How will people who call it *the* wifi cope...I might just say it is managed by the clouds or is it cloud...?

All your internets are belong to us.

Seeing how most devices (Phones, Playstation, Xbox, etc.) when they connect ask for Wi-Fi passwords, most people understand that and so I tend to use WiFi, I mean seriously who wants to type that extra hyphen all the time.

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I see what you did there!

At this point I have probably spent more time thinking about the hype than just typing it...or not.

Definitely one for a stupid interview question: Type 12 ways to say WiFi
Kind of a big deal

Don't care. Use whatever you like, and I'll use whatever I like. We all know what each other is talking about so there's no need to be anal-retentive. Let's just build networks! 



Kind of a big deal

@jdsilva TELL EM BRO!!!!

Here to help

WiFi is actual the certification for the IEEE802.11 standard from the WiFi-Alliance. 😄

But yes, it's a marketing thing, too.

Building a reputation

Personaly, I'm using term WLAN. But when I have to explain that to customer, using WiFi in general.

Amusingly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiFi automatically points to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi


Given the Wi-Fi Trademark; https://www.wi-fi.org/who-we-are/our-brands


Would it be fair to say WiFi (and use of its logos) are royalty free?

Here's my take on it.


Wireless LAN or WLAN is a more general term used for any form of a wireless LAN. One standard for those is IEEE 802.11.


As for WiFi or Wi-Fi, lately I've started using Wi-Fi, as that is what the Wi-Fi Alliance uses. It is some sort of certification of interoperability, but it's a subset of 802.11 (and by extension a subset of wireless LAN).


But honnestly, I don't think there are many people who care about what term you use. They're used interchangeably.

@BrechtSchamp  - I completely agree that they are interchangeably and that I would never use Wireless LAN when talking with the customer (Unless it is their IT Team).


Personally I have always used Wi-Fi and then found Meraki mix and match WiFi/Wi-Fi in all their sales documentation, and it changes depending on who writes the blog articles this changes: https://meraki.cisco.com/blog/tag/wifi/


But overall it gravitated to WiFi, so I decided to do some digging and got varied responses...thus the post 🙂



https://meraki.cisco.com/products/wireless : Wireless Lan / Wi-Fi

https://meraki.cisco.com/solutions/serviceprovider : WiFi

https://meraki.cisco.com/solutions/high-density-wifi : WiFi

https://meraki.cisco.com/solutions/80211ac : Wireless Network / WiFi


Kind of a big deal

Funniest thing is people think WiFi is magic and that there are no wires. 


Yeah I agree. I think it really depends on who you're talking to, If it's an IT Personnel, Non-Technical Staffs or whatever. It depends on different scenarios on what term should you be using towards that person. 🙂

Getting noticed

This is one of those things where I know I use one of those terms more than others, but since I'm being asked, they all sound wrong.

Kind of a big deal

Within the networking team? Wireless LAN or wireless (LAN implied). 


To people outside the team? The wireless network or "you know, the wifi?" since they neither know nor care about what a "LAN" is. I pretty much never write Wifi, WiFi, or Wi-Fi as clearly it's too much effort. 


I will admit to occasionally shocking people indecently by explaining how the wifi eventually turns into a physical network. "The invisible wifi is actually physical networking equipment" and "servers on the Internet are houses, not the roads" are my two favorite ways to surprise people who aren't exposed to networking.

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