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A brand name for a group of wireless networking protocols and technology,


Wi-Fi is the brand name for a group of wireless networking protocols and technology, through which Wi-Fi-enabled devices can wirelessly connect to the Internet via a router and also behave as a network — a WLAN, or wireless local area network. For example, a WLAN could be a Wi-Fi-enabled computer, mobile phone, and printer wirelessly connected to Wi-Fi router that then gives them access to the Internet via a company’s wireless network.

Two components of the WLAN or Wi-Fi network are the router — hardware that connects to a wireless company’s wireless network — and an access point (AP), which enables devices to connect to the  extend the bandwidth of the router signal to enlarge the network.[1]

The wireless access point stretches the bandwidth that comes in from a router to give access to devices that are farther from the router.  “But a wireless access point does more than simply extend Wi-Fi. It can also give useful data about the devices on the network, provide proactive security, and serve many other practical purposes,” explains wireless technology company Cisco.[2]

Wi-Fi, once considered “the poor cousin to cellular,” is now the most commonly used wireless communication technology, with more than 3.8 billion devices shipping annually and nearly 20 billion devices in use, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the trade group that coined the term and registered it as a trademark in 2000.[3]

The Wi-Fi protocols are defined by the IEEE 802.11 standard. Over the years the standards evolved.

Source: Wi-Fi AllianceSource: Wi-Fi Alliance


[1] Cisco website. “What Is Wi-Fi?”

[2] Cisco website. “What Is Wi-Fi?”

[3] Heyman, Karen. “Wi-Fi 7 Moves Forward, Adding Yet Another Protocol,” Semiconductor Engineering, July 17, 2023,