Wi-Fi, also known as wireless broadband, wireless networking or wireless fidelity, simply means broadband without the wires. The advantage of small, portable devices such as laptops and PDAs is that they can be used anywhere around the house. But if you want to access the Internet on them as well, you’ll need a Wi-Fi transmitter.
Wi-Fi has become very popular because once you have a base station, any number of desktop or laptop computers can be connected to your broadband service without the need for any cables or installing extra phone lines. So if you have a second computer in an upstairs room, or a laptop as well as a desktop, the same broadband service will be available on all your machines at the same time.
On the other hand, Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance for certified products based on the IEEE 802.11 standards.
The Wi-Fi certification warrants interoperability between different wireless devices. In some countries the term Wi-Fi is often used by the public as a synonym for IEEE 802.11-wireless LAN (WLAN).
Not every IEEE 802.11 compliant device is certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which may be because of certification costs that must be paid for each certified device type. The lack of the Wi-Fi logo does not imply that a device is incompatible to certified Wi-Fi devices.
Wi-Fi is used by most personal computer operating systems, many video game consoles, laptops, smartphones, printers, and other peripherals.