n. A networking technology that creates a wireless connection between a device and a network or the Internet.
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From the home, we move to public access spaces. Working with companies like Wayport, MobileStar, and Airwave, hundreds and hundreds of airports, hotels, and even restaurants are rolling out Wi-Fi access. On Jan. 3, Starbucks and Microsoft announced that in early spring each coffeehouse would begin offering Wi-Fi access for its patrons.
—J. William Gurley, “Why Wi-Fi Is The Next Big Thing,” Fortune, March 05, 2001
1999 (earliest)
The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) announced today the selection of the Silicon Valley Networking Lab Inc. (SVNL) to provide rigorous Wireless LAN product interoperability testing. WECA also unveiled Wi-Fi(TM), the new consumer brand identity for the IEEE 802.11 High Rate (HR) Standard.
—“Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance Announces Independent Test Lab and Wi-Fi Technology Brand,” Business Wire, September 16, 1999
Wi-Fi began life a couple of years ago saddled with a real eye-glazer of a name: the IEEE 802.11 High Rate (HR) Standard. Fortunately, at least one person with a sense of whimsy managed to sneak into the meeting and that unknown wordsmith coined the much snappier Wi-Fi as a play on the old audio term hi-fi (high fidelity), which entered the language around 1950.
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