The Wi-Fi Alphabet

WifiMapper launched two weeks ago, and the excitement still hasn’t rubbed off. So, to continue the theme blazed by OpenSignal’s latest app, I’d like to take a look at Wi-Fi, and particularly, at the way the word “Wi-Fi” really is its own brand and has inspired a generation of *-Fi names. Here’s the “Alphabet Soup” of Wi-Fi, presenting the products and projects that have donned the *-Fi suffix (some more closely related to Wi-Fi, sensors, or telecommunications than others).

Letter Name Description
A aiFi aiFis are stackable Bluetooth speakers, so each speaker can join other aiFis in playing your favourite music. Also, join the competition to break the record number of units stacked or create your own innovative stack.
B Bi-Fi This one is fascinating! Two Stanford researchers have created a biological mechanism to send genetic messages from cell to cell. How? They took the virus M13 and harnessed its key attributes — its non-lethality and its ability to package and broadcast arbitrary DNA strands — to create what might be termed the biological Internet, or “Bi-Fi.”
C CiFi CiFi stands for Cellular with Wifi, and is most commonly found in Cisco’s 812 CiFi Integrated Services Router. The router is available in 3.7G or 3G/3.7G with dual 802.11n radio Wi-Fi. I’d love to know where and how these routers are used – are they part of network deployments?
D D-Fi D-Fi cables and connectors (made by Vertere Acoustics) improve the output sound quality from headphone jacks and other ports on your computer and mobile devices. So rather than use your charging cable to play music from your iPad, use a D-Fi cable or connector.
E Eyefi Mobi (a product made by the company Eyefi) works like a regular SDHC but unlike ordinary SDHC cards, Mobi includes built-in WiFi that connects your camera to your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac wirelessly. Just click the shutter and watch your photos appear on your favorite device.
F Project Fi Using a Nexus 6-only SIM card that supports multiple cellular networks, Project Fi puts you on the best available network between Wi-Fi and two 4G LTE networks. This means you get access to more cell towers and 4G LTE in more places.
G Gi-Fi Also known as gigabit wireless or WiGig, Gi-Fi refers to a wireless data communications rate of more than 1 gigabit per second. These rates are currently being achieved by creating specialised 60GHz radios or by reducing interference caused by devices on other channels.
H Hi-Fi Back to audio! Hi-Fi, or high-fidelity (sound), refers to digitally recorded and generated sound that is as close to the original as possible, so that if you were to close your eyes, you can imagine that you are hearing the real thing.
I IFI Moving away from audio, IFI is the International Flood Initiative, which focuses on research, information networking, education and training, empowering communities and providing technical assistance and guidance. Sounds like something for CrisisSignal!
J Ji-Fi Ji-Fi is Joint Impedance and Facies Inversion, which is a Bayesian inversion system used to extract geologically meaningful rock properties (Porosity, Saturation, Vshale, etc.) from seismic data. This is often used for mining complex oil and gas reservoirs. Could it also be used in earthquake prediction?
K Kifi

Kifi is a new way to discover information based on your interests, friends, and the Kifi knowledge community. One could probably think about it as an extended version of Pinterest, albeit with a larger recommendation engine. #organizetheinternet
 L Li-Fi Li-Fi refers to visible light communications (VLC) technology that delivers a high-speed, bidirectional networked, mobile communications in a similar manner as Wi-Fi. Data is transmitted by modulating the intensity of the light, which is then received by a photo-sensitive detector, and the light signal is demodulated into electronic form. Really cool!
 M Mi-Fi Mi-Fis are compact, wireless devices that enable multiple users to share a single mobile broadband connection while they are on the go. A MiFi taps into 3G or 4G mobile phone networks and uses this connection to create a mini wireless broadband cloud.
 N NiFi Apache NiFi is a dataflow system that is currently under incubation at the Apache Software Foundation. NiFi is based on the concepts of flow-based programming and is highly configurable. NiFi also has a rich web-based interface for designing, controlling, and monitoring a dataflow.
 O Oui-Fi This is how to say Wi-Fi with a French accent!
 P PiFi PiFi – a Raspberry Pi enabled Wi-Fi radio – is the personal project of a self-taught electronics buff. The main link is his blog post where he describes the steps for creating a “smart radio” that can play files from a thumbdrive, stream internet radio, and play songs from your iOS device via Airplay. To top it off, it can be controlled by a smartphone or web browser.
 Q QiFi QiFi is a browser-based, client-side QR code generator for your Wi-Fi password. The QR code can be read by any Android barcode scanner based on the ZXing library, and a few more.
 R Ri-Fi To continue with the audio theme, Ri-Fi was an Italian record company, founded by Giovanni Battista Ansoldi in 1959, that was active until the early 1980s.
 S SCIFI SCIFI is an acronym in Portuguese for an intelligent control system for wireless networks. SCIFI is open source, and uses off-the shelf, low-cost SOHO routers compatible with OpenWRT or any other Linux-like OS to build medium and large scale wireless networks. Okay okay. “Sci-Fi” is also science fiction. Here’s a list of the sci-fi books to watch out for in 2015, by iO9.
 T None
 U None
 V Vi-Fi I think that this is how we would spell Wi-Fi if Count Dracula had said it. More on Dracula, author Bram Stoker, and other discussions on the page of Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Dracula expert.
 W Wi-Fi Wi-Fi? What was that again? (j/k) There’s a great article by the Economist on how regulation changes in 1985 created an environment where Wi-Fi could flourish. The main link leads to the IEEE Wi-Fi standards page (if you’re in for some techie reads).
 X XIFI XIFI is a project of the European Public-Private-Partnership on Future Internet (FI-PPP) programme. XIFI works towards establishing a common European market for large-scale trials for Future Internet and Smart Cities by creating a sustainable pan-European federation of Future Internet test infrastructures.
 Y Y-fi The Y-Fi laser is an ultrafast laser based on rare earth-doped optical fiber – in this case Ytterbium Fiber. The laser enables new applications in ultrafast microscopy, micro-machining, mid-IR conversion in conjunction with an OPO, supercontinuum generation, laser surgery, and ophthalmology.
 Z Z-fi  Z-Fi is a technology developed by Zivix that is designed to enhance performance and maintain a strong wireless connection with MIDI devices and Zivix apps and drivers. Zivix is a hardware, software, and technology company focused on making musical instruments more accessible for everyone.

Have fun checking all of these out! Share your favourite “-Fi” in the WifiMapper forums, or suggest something for a letter that doesn’t have an entry!  Remember, the rule for a -Fi is [A-Z]i-Fi (small exceptions permitted).

Finally, don’t forget to download WifiMapper – in the App Store on iOS and available in beta on Android. Thanks!

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  1. Pingback: El alfabeto Wi-Fi | Telesemana

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