Just because everyone's\u00a0heard of Wi-Fi, it most certainly\u00a0doesn't mean that they\u00a0know what WiFi is or how it works; in fact, most don't even know what does WiFi stands for, let alone what all those numbers and letters represent. \u00a0So keep reading to find out more about WiFi and how the wireless technology works\u00a0so you can pick the best wireless router for your home or office.\r\n\r\nTable Of Contents:\r\n\r\n \tWhat Does WiFi Stand For And What Does It Mean\r\n \tWhere Did "WiFi" Come From?\r\n \tWhat Are All Those Letters About:\u00a0802.11\r\n \tWiFi Bands: 2.4Ghz vs. 5Ghz?\r\n \tWiFi Security: WEP\/WPA2-PSK\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat Does WiFi Stand For And What Does It Mean\r\nWhen we talk about the term \u201cWiFi\u201d, it helps to know right off the bat that \u201cWiFi\u201d doesn\u2019t actually mean anything (and nor does it stand for anything).\r\n\r\nMany people believe it refers to \u201cwireless fidelity\u201d, but in fact the name is simply just a marketing term that an advertising agency came up with back in 1999 when wireless technology was still struggling to find its feet.\r\n\r\nNowadays of course it has become the de-facto colloquial term for a wireless network.\u00a0But what does it actually mean, and where did it all start?\r\n\r\nWhere Did "WiFi" Come From?\r\nWiFi, or wireless networking as it should be referred to, before it became a staple computer accessory, is a technology that\u2019s actually much older than most people think.\u00a0First tinkered with by a professor at the University of Hawaii named Norman Abramson, the act of transmitting data over the air was first achieved via HAM radio in 1971, though the technology that made it work was downright primitive by today\u2019s standards.\r\n\r\nDue to the huge expense of the equipment that was required to make a HAM setup work, wireless would sit dormant on the shelves until the mid-90\u2019s when various formats and wireless frequencies were being proposed as the standard for the band that wireless internet would occupy.\r\n\r\nBy 1997, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) had agreed on the 802.11 standard, which at that time was tied to what we now know as 802.11b. In order to get more companies and consumers interested in the wireless internet technology, the IEEE settled on the shortened \u201cWiFi\u201d, which would be adopted across the board as the universal term to describe a wireless LAN network that multiple users can transmit data to and from simultaneously.\r\n\r\nWhat Are All Those Letters About: 802.11\r\nYou\u2019ll notice in the previous paragraph, we mentioned that what started as the \u201c802.11\u201d standard was quickly changed to \u201c802.11b\u201d, as the extra letter was added in order to denote the generation of wireless technology that devices could support.\r\n\r\nFor example, the \u201cb\u201d standard was the very first to come out, and could support a transmission rate of around 11Mbps on the 2.4Ghz spectrum. Next came the \u201c802.11a\u201d standard in 2002, which was\u00a0capable of transmitting upwards of 54Mbps over the newly minted 5Ghz frequency spectrum.\r\n\r\nFast forward to today, where the latest and hottest on the market is the 802.11ac standard, which is capable of transmitting a whopping 1.3Gbps over both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz spectrum at the same time.\r\n\r\nWiFi Bands: 2.4Ghz vs. 5Ghz\r\nWhen we throw a random collection of numbers and letter like \u201c2.4Ghz\u201d out there, readers should know that we\u2019re referencing the wireless spectrum that WiFi routers use to communicate with the devices that they\u2019re hooked up to.\r\n\r\n2.4Ghz is the first technology that came out, and is considered to be much more \u201ccrowded\u201d than 5Ghz due to the amount of time it\u2019s been around. Most laptops, cell phones and tablets connect on this spectrum, which means that it can be harder to maintain a solid connection for long periods of time without experiencing periodic packet loss.\r\n\r\nThat said, the 5Ghz band - which is considerably less noisy\u00a0than 2.4Ghz - because of the way the signal travels has a tendency\u00a0to become exponentially less reliable the more objects (doors, floors, etc)\u00a0it has to pass through to get to its intended device. So, if you live in an apartment complex in a smaller dwelling, the 5Ghz spectrum can\u00a0be a\u00a0better choice as it has to compete with less wireless devices. \u00a0Just remember, 5GHz can be\u00a0worse if you live\u00a0in a large home that has lots of physical barriers between you and the router.\r\n\r\nIn summary: whether you should jump on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz depends on where your router is in the home, and how surrounded you are by other people. If the next time you open up your wireless networks and see 5-15 other routers around you, 5Ghz is going to be the way to go. \u00a0On the other hand 2.4Ghz is great if you don\u2019t have a lot of devices trying to connect at once and are using the connection\u00a0over\u00a0longer range.\r\n\r\nWiFi Security: WEP\/WPA2-PSK\r\nLast up, there\u2019s the security standards. WEP was the first layer of protection that wireless routers would use to encrypt the channel of communication that devices would use to talk to the router\u2019s base station. Widely known to be hackable and the least secure of the bunch, it\u2019s not recommended you use WEP anymore unless you have a very specific reason for turning it on.\r\n\r\nConversely, the newest standard called WPA2-PSK is nigh uncrackable, using something known as the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. This protocol makes sure that every device is handed its very own, pre-encrypted key that can\u2019t be hijacked or stolen by any man-in-the-middle attacks that might attempt to impersonate a new user on the network.\r\n\r\nWPA2-PSK protects the password that you create when you first create your wireless network, a specific string of anywhere from 8 to 63 unique characters. Without this, it would be simple for anyone with an iPhone to simply walk by, pick up your signal, and have access to all the devices and computers currently attached to the network at once.\r\n\r\nWireless technology started\u00a0its humble beginnings as a garage project for engineers in Hawaii, and has come to drastically affect the way we communicate and network with each other in the modern world, from\u00a0wearable technology to programmable thermostats to wireless speakers.\r\n\r\nAs connection standards continue to improve and download speeds just keep getting speedier, it seems that the sky is the only limit on how fast we can go from here on out.\r\n\r\nCheck out\u00a0all of our wireless wifi router reviews before your next purchase to find the most secure, fastest router for your home or\u00a0office.