People Are Just Realising What Wi-Fi Stands For, And We're Shocked

It could not be more different to what I thought.
Francesco Carta fotografo via Getty Images

A lot of us might know that hi-fi stands for high fidelity. So it follows that maybe Wi-Fi stands for wireless fidelity... right?

Wrong, actually. In a TikTok, fun fact lover That’s Pretty Cool asked, “What does [Wi-Fi] stand for?”

“Nothing” was the answer. “It just sounds cool. It actually has no meaning.”

“For a while, it was paired with the slogan ‘Wi-Fi, the standard for wireless fidelity,’ but that’s only because the people who had hired the marketing people decided that they couldn’t have it mean nothing,” they added.

Wait ― really?

Well, if one of the original creators of Wi-Fi is to be believed, yes.

Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who led its name selection,said “Wi-Fi doesn’t stand for anything. It is not an acronym. There is no meaning.”

He shared that the name and logo were made up by a company called Interbrand.

“We needed something that was a little catchier than ‘IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence,’” he said. There were ten names to choose from.

It doesn’t sound like he liked the “wireless fidelity” tagline

“The only reason that you hear anything about “Wireless Fidelity” is some of my colleagues in the group were afraid. They didn’t understand branding or marketing” and felt the urge to have a literal meaning, he shared.

“So we compromised and agreed to include the tagline... This was a mistake and only served to confuse people and dilute the brand.”

He asked people to please, please forget the tagline existed ― “We were dumb to confuse and water down their efforts by adding the meaningless tagline. Please help reinforce the good work that we did and forget the tagline,” he asked.

People were shocked in the TikToker’s comments

“I always thought it stood for wireless fibre internet,” one commenter shared.

“I hated the term when wireless came out and people started calling it Wi-Fi and it didn’t make sense... but it stuck,” said another.

You learn something new every day, I suppose...