WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity and is meant to be used generically when referring of any type of 802.11 network, whether 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g or dual-band, etc.
Wi-Fi wireless networking is based on a set of standards collectively known as “IEEE 802.11.” Today’s products are based on three “flavors” of 802.11:
- 802.11a operates in the 5.0 GHz band and operates at a maximum speed of 54 Mbps
- 802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz band and operates at a maximum speed of 11 Mbps
- 802.11g operates in the 2.4 GHz band and operates at a maximum speed of 54 Mbps
The “11a” and “11b” standards were both published in 1999; “11g” was published in 2003. 11b and 11g operate in the same frequency band; 11g products are all back-compatible with 11b. 11a runs in a completely different frequency band so “11a-only” products won’t work with 11b or 11g. “Dual radio” products operate simultaneously in both bands; earlier products support 11a and 11b, while newer products support all three standards.