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Super Wi-Fi Isn't Really Wi-Fi

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-can-a-jump-rope-be-wi-fi? dept.

The Internet 145

adeelarshad82 writes "As reported yesterday lucky residents of Wilmington, N.C., will be the first in the nation to have access to a 'Super Wi-Fi' network. However, the only issue is that Super Wi-Fi isn't really Wi-Fi: Mobile analyst Sascha Segan explains the difference and also gets into why it's incorrectly being dubbed as Super Wi-Fi."

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Shocking! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850501)

Super WiFi isn't WiFi at all? Shouldn't it have been called wannabe WiFi?

Child's Play? (0)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850575)

Hey, is this the same Sascha Segan who was a little know-it-all brat on the 80s TV gameshow Child's Play?

http://www.game-show-utopia.net/SSInterview.htm [game-show-utopia.net]

My how you've grown!

Re:Child's Play? (-1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850859)

There are four plates bolted to the Heisman trophy.

The Heisman trophy has four dishes [slashdot.org] .

The immaculate conception plus we three kings is four dishes.

You will never be able to play the game [slashdot.org] , you will never be able to even fumble the ball.

The midwives know that it takes about a thousand mints to turn a one pounder into a four pounder.

The Heisman trophy is a faery tale--child's play.

Re:Child's Play? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851679)

Yup, same guy, as you can see here:

http://web.mac.com/sascha_segan/Sascha_Segan/Sascha_Segan_-_Journalist.html

Re:Shocking! (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852109)

They're worried that "WiFi" has become synonymous with Wireless communication, like Hoover has to Vacuum Cleaners.
If they did get sued, and I were the "Super WiFi" guys I'd come up with another name, it's not that hard. Sprint's 4G is called WiMAX (as stated in the story), so since they're in the White Spaces frequencies, why not take a part of White and Space and get "Wi-Space". Keep the Wi but drop the Fi and drop that stupid "Super" suffix.

The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850509)

Is it "Super"? If it's super, then the wi-fi part is relatively inconsequential.

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850541)

I think the real question is, Will it Blend?

'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850517)

for one, I do side with the big corps saying they need to protect their product name or protocol name.

is ham radio wifi? is fm radio 'home transmitters' wifi? is cb radio (gawd, I'm old) wifi?

how about our cordless phones? those are 'wifi' too?

assinine.

now, the other way around is equally wrong. when MS took 'windows' and now they own that word, that was wrong. apple seems to think they own a lot of common words and colors, too.

but wifi is not at all generic and didn't start out generic. it should be respected as its own thing and not name-stolen.

Apparently not even compatible? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850591)

I think if something is to be called Wifi, it should at least work with most of the Wifi devices out there.

If it is yet another compatible implementation of the 802.11 family of protocols using the same spectrum, it is okay.

If it is 802.11 on a different part of the spectrum, calling it wifi is a stretch.

If it is 802.22, then it isn't wifi at all. Calling it so can cause user confusion.

oh please, there's no problem (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850613)

most end users, almost all of them, don't know a thing about radio spectrum, encoding, or protocols for such. The level of understanding is "does it work with this system, or doesn't it'. Therefore "super wifi" is nothing more than a marketing term. It doesn't matter.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (4, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850645)

But wifi used to mean it worked with wifi, it wasn't just marketing.

They created a user friendly term so users didn't need to know 802.11g. If they lose the trademark, they'll need to come up with another new term, and retrain users.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850725)

Because it would suck if users ever actually knew what they were talking about, thus preventing this confusion next time.

I mean really, are "Wireless-N", "WiFi-N", and such appellations really so much easier to remember than 802.11n? Yeah, I know we're all/mostly computer/network enthusiasts, and it would be wrong to expect the general public to care as much about getting it right, but when I deal with fields where I'm non-expert, I'd know I'd rather learn correct terminology than some brand name -- and I don't see that it's significantly harder, so even people who don't care would be fine learning the correct term, if we could just get rid of all the marketing departments that make these stupid trademarks.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850933)

But wifi used to mean it worked with wifi, it wasn't just marketing.

They created a user friendly term so users didn't need to know 802.11g. If they lose the trademark, they'll need to come up with another new term, and retrain users.

Except that since WIFI != compatible with all Wifi devices, consumers do need to read all the stuff about 802.11g.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851797)

With the exception of 802.11a only devices (and it's been a long time since I've seen one), every device I've seen is compatible, all the way back to the first 802.11b card and router I had.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (1)

segin (883667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852693)

They now have new 802.11a/n routers that are also 5GHz-only.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851319)

They should get rid of the term 'Wi-Fi' anyway, because it's stupid. What does it mean? "Wireless Fidelity"? It says nothing about what it does or how.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (4, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850767)

Sure it matters. If my device has a WiFi logo on it, I should be able to connect. If it doesn't connect I'm going to be pissed and believe that "WiFi" sucks.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851003)

If you take your "wifi" device that only does 2.4GHz to a place with 5 GHz wifi, it won't work either. get over it.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851157)

I didn't know anyone even made 5GHz only access points. WiFi devices tend to be backwards compatible and I think people would think less of WiFi if they find something branded as WiFi is incompatible with something else branded as WiFi.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851915)

Where I work we have some 5GHz only access points. They do exist and most smart phones and tablets don't see it.

Re:oh please, there's no problem (1)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852149)

There are actually a lot... Wi-Max devices are actually WiFi, and many operate at 5.0ghz. If you have the SSID & Key and give them your mac address, you could connect right up to a WiMax network, if you're in line of sight and within broadcast distance. Point of reference: I own a couple of Ubiquity WiMax APs. My a/b/g/n laptop can connect with no issues.
Also, 802.11a uses 5.0GHz. If you look (they're rare and old), you can find some 802.11a-only APs.

Tech ignorance is worse than you think (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851387)

[Posting AC, for semiobvious reasons....]
Overheard in a local McDonald's (TM) restaurant:
Customer: I want my free wiffee.
Clerk: Your free what?
Customer: My free wiffee.

[....iterate four or five times....]

Clerk: Can you show me where we have a 'wiffee' on our menu?
Customer, pointing to 'Free Wi-Fi' sign: See! A Free wiffee! Does it come in small, medium, and large?
Clerk: Oh, that's WiFi, rhymes with SciFi, and it's used to get to the Internet.
Customer: Oh. Thanks.

Re:Tech ignorance is worse than you think (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852645)

approx half of everyone on the street is of below-average intelligence.

'nuff said?

Re:oh please, there's no problem (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852421)

Alright, I will now refer to all Bluetooth, cellular, and baseband radio transmissions as "wi-fi" since they're all just "marketing terms."

Re:Apparently not even compatible? (4, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850801)

Ok then, call it Wi-Far! :)

Re:Apparently not even compatible? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851109)

I suggest Wi-Space.

Re:Apparently not even compatible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38852309)

Wi-Fart!

Re:Apparently not even compatible? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852589)

Wi-Not

Re:Apparently not even compatible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851837)

I think if something is to be called Wifi, it should at least work with most of the Wifi devices out there.

If they call an OS "windows", it should run all the "windows software" out there. All the way back to version 1.0 . . .

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (5, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850769)

Agreed, even ignoring the obvious trademark issues and lack of compatibility, Wi-Fi has never been the generic term. Wi-Fi didn't exist until the Wi-Fi Alliance created the term specifically to promote inter-operable 802.11a/b/g products. Wireless is the generic term.

Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE, Bluetooth, and other such terms are specific implementations of wireless data communications. None of those inter-operate with the others, but they don't interfere with each other either so they can be used concurrently. If the "Wireless Innovation Alliance" doesn't know that, then they're ignorant. If they do know it, then they've deliberately violated a competitor's registered trademark and opened themselves to a lawsuit that could potentially end their group before they really get started. It's unlikely that will happen. The appropriate response when called-out on it would have been something like "We're sorry, we will use another term.", not the insolent BS response claiming "The term 'wifi' has always been a general term for the family of 802.11 protocols...."

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850779)

Those are inappropriate examples, because they don't act like wifi. Anything that acts like wifi is wifi, regardless of the spectrum or standard.

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852481)

This doesn't act any more like Wi-Fi than Bluetooth or 3G does. There are major differences are in spectrum, protocol, range, and throughput. It probably wasn't the underlying point of your post, but the post implies that all wireless names are interchangeable, because they all act exactly the same if you ignore protocol, spectrum, throughput, and range.

Most people don't ignore those differences as trivial, assuming they know the first thing about wireless communication. If they don't, it still matters because all those different protocol devices are not interoperable without some sort of L2 translation. Advertising them by the same name implies some sort of L2 compatibility, and "Super Wi-Fi" is not L2 compatible with any 802.11 device.

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850877)

Well as someone who has to explain things to consumers all day all i want to know is this: Can my customers fire up their bog standard B/G/N Wifi enabled laptops and netbooks and hook up with as simple and painless a procedure as normal Wifi? if the answer is yes i'm all for it and if its no they need to STFU and get out of here with that shit. From reading TFA it looks like a STFU and GTFO kind of deal, needing new cards and will confuse the hell out of my customers who think (and rightly so since they have backwards compatibility) that "Wifi is Wifi".

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851451)

Now I wanna try wifi over CB.

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852663)

modern equiv of 'breaker, breaker!' is when you microwave popcorn and your net connection goes down ;)

Re:'wireless' is generic, wifi is not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851601)

That's nothing. The Deutsche Telekom officially sued, and won because other companies used magenta or the letter "T".
Seriously. Multiple times even. You can look it up. It's all there.

Of course, just like "windows" or the things Apple claims to "own", that is a mere delusion, and only works as far, as there are idiots like you who constantly not only willingly accept it, but also spread it to everyone.

Ok, sorry. I don't think you're really an idiot. I'm just so angry at this happening all the time. We all get caught up when we live under the influence of industrial-strength bullshit all day. Sometimes we fall for it, sometimes we fall against it.

But please don't do that. OK?
Because a mental concept only exists as much, as you validate it. It needs you to survive.

That's right. All those "IP" criminals desperately need the people to believe.
Because⦠well, go to your city center, and yell that all the air now belongs to you. Then see how much that means... when nobody cares. ;)

That's the power you have, when you don't validate.

Thank you. :)

This just in... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850519)

A super nerd explains why super wifi isn't wifi. General population doesn't give a fuck, as wifi means "wireless internet" to them.

More new at 11...

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850551)

LOL. Man the truth sure gets modded down fast around here...

Wish this place had the ability to browse at a reverse setting. 1 to -5 are where all the interesting and honest things are.

Re:This just in... (4, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850579)

Being as you are "Anonymous Coward", the first user here, you should already know that Slashdot is all about a subfield of Social Steganography where the challenge is to write something meaningful and truthful that is perceived by the reader as the rant of an idiot.

Re:This just in... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850745)

I thought it was t'other way 'round -- try to write an idiotic rant in such a way that it's perceived by the reader as insightful and informative?

Have I been doing it wrong all this time?

They *will* care when it doesn't "just work"! (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850691)

A super nerd explains why super wifi isn't wifi. General population doesn't give a fuck, as wifi means "wireless internet" to them.

General population then bitches when their Super "WiFi" doesn't interoperate with any of their existing WiFi equipment and in fact can't even be used directly in their laptop at present. From the article:-

For now, at least, you can't move a white-space device around. You can't put a white-space radio into a phone or laptop because each white-space device must check its location against a database to determine which TV channels and wireless microphones are being used in the device's area, so they can avoid those channels. [..] It will be a way for wireless Internet providers, especially in rural areas, to zap their network over to a main router in a home, which will then redistribute it to devices over Ethernet or standard Wi-Fi connections.

So you're right that they probably wouldn't care about the technical issues, and nor would they ever likely care if any difference was totally transparent (and thus irrelevant) to the man on the street. But it's not, and that's why "Super WiFi" is a crap and misleading name, even for Joe Public.

Re:They *will* care when it doesn't "just work"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851167)

A super nerd explains why super wifi isn't wifi. General population doesn't give a fuck, as wifi means "wireless internet" to them.

General population then bitches when their Super "WiFi" doesn't interoperate with any of their existing WiFi equipment and in fact can't even be used directly in their laptop at present.

Right, because that same general populace expected to be able to play all their old Nintendo games on their Super Nintendo?

Re:They *will* care when it doesn't "just work"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851565)

From the article:

For now, at least, you can't move a white-space device around. You can't put a white-space radio into a phone or laptop because each white-space device must check its location against a database to determine which TV channels and wireless microphones are being used in the device's area, so they can avoid those channels. [..] It will be a way for wireless Internet providers, especially in rural areas, to zap their network over to a main router in a home, which will then redistribute it to devices over Ethernet or standard Wi-Fi connections.

... "Super WiFi" is a crap and misleading name.

Given this description, I would call it "Route-Fi".
Oh crap, I should've trademarked that before writing this, shouldn't I? ;-)

Re:They *will* care when it doesn't "just work"! (1)

ryanw (131814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851909)

A super nerd explains why super wifi isn't wifi. General population doesn't give a fuck, as wifi means "wireless internet" to them.

General population then bitches when their Super "WiFi" doesn't interoperate with any of their existing WiFi equipment and in fact can't even be used directly in their laptop at present. From the article:-

For now, at least, you can't move a white-space device around. You can't put a white-space radio into a phone or laptop because each white-space device must check its location against a database to determine which TV channels and wireless microphones are being used in the device's area, so they can avoid those channels. [..] It will be a way for wireless Internet providers, especially in rural areas, to zap their network over to a main router in a home, which will then redistribute it to devices over Ethernet or standard Wi-Fi connections.

So you're right that they probably wouldn't care about the technical issues, and nor would they ever likely care if any difference was totally transparent (and thus irrelevant) to the man on the street. But it's not, and that's why "Super WiFi" is a crap and misleading name, even for Joe Public.

Ya whatever. We have constantly been living within different wifi standards such as 802.11a/b/n/whatever. Non techies understand the differences, but joe blow just listens to whatever the bestbuy guy at the store says. Bestbuy guy hands him a router and a card or whatever and pats him on the head and moves along to the counter. Same thing with 3G compatibility for iPads or what have you. People understand that not all 3G is compatible. People don't even know what 4g is yet. But it's all just marketing crap and at the end of the day people ask the techies what to do and hopefully they tell the consumers to get the correct stuff.

Re:They *will* care when it doesn't "just work"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851965)

That's not what the problem is here. The problem is 6 months from now they'll still call it Super WiFi and people will still complain and Joe Public still won't care. I agree if you get them to change it now it will largely avoid issues but the issues simply are petty in the grand scheme of things.

Re:This just in... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850883)

this pipe is diameter of 3.

it should fit your pipe if it also measures 3.

(do not worry if its cm or inches or even fractional yards. its Not Our Problem if this does not fit YOUR pipe).

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851211)

They start giving a fuck when their "wireless intrnet" computer doesn't work with the "(super) wireless internet" that's supposed to be all around them.

Re:This just in... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851829)

A super nerd explains why super wifi isn't wifi. General population doesn't give a fuck, as wifi means "wireless internet" to them.

That's not the point at all. The point is that they've started using a trademarked term in a very official way (not just informally saying "It's like super wifi.") such as in trade show names. This is public notice, a prelude to a big trademark infringement lawsuit over the misuse of the term WiFi.

Imagine if DisplayPort was not named DisplayPort, but instead was listed everywhere as "Super HDMI". It doesn't matter if that name helps you understand what it is... you're using someone else's trademark as a semi-offical name for your product. You're massively in the wrong, and should expect the mother of all trademark lawsuits to land on your head in short order, and you won't have a leg to stand on.

Tape for boo-boos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850539)

"...The term 'Super WiFi' is a verbal tool for conveying a thought or concept in an easy-to-understand way, such as when a child asks for a Band-Aid for a boo-boo, and you give him or her a generic brand plastic adhesive,"

I don't know about the rest of you, but when I did that as a kid my parents were kind enough to offer an adhesive bandage, not just a piece of tape.

Re:Tape for boo-boos? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850599)

You were lucky. I always got at least chewed out for a boo-boo, if not worse.

Re:Tape for boo-boos? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850999)

You were lucky. I always got at least chewed out for a boo-boo, if not worse.

At least your parents didn't cover it with Mecurochrome [wikipedia.org] . Putting organic mercury compounds on a child's open wound is probably not the best idea (though I don't think any studies definitely proved that mercury was absorbed into the body from Mercurochrome). Plus it left your skin indelibly dyed a bright orange color.

Re:Tape for boo-boos? (1)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851323)

You were lucky. I always got at least chewed out for a boo-boo, if not worse.

At least your parents didn't cover it with Mecurochrome [wikipedia.org] . Putting organic mercury compounds on a child's open wound is probably not the best idea (though I don't think any studies definitely proved that mercury was absorbed into the body from Mercurochrome). Plus it left your skin indelibly dyed a bright orange color.

you were lucky. At last your parents didn't just cut off the damaged limb.

Re:Tape for boo-boos? (2, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850615)

That's nothing, when I asked for a Band-aid for a boo-boo, my parents gave me a generic brand plastic explosive. If they had bought the name brand stuff, I wouldn't have elbows anymore.

Clear frequencies (0)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850557)

with software that can "sense" clear frequencies as they move around.

As if that's going to be reliable as everyone jumps into these bands.

More Like... (2)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850565)

WiFaux

WiFaux (1, Redundant)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851329)

WiFaux

Followed closely by WiFumm

I see a flaw... (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850567)

It could become a real threat to cell phone carriers' 3G data monopoly, and could *snip*

They're deploying this in the US, right? Ok. It's doomed. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Like they'd ever let you have something cutting edge that wasn't owned by a mega corporation. ha ha ha. You're so funny, slashdot.

Whats the real difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850577)

I got bored when the guy was arguing about trademarks and how proud they are of theirs....

What is the real difference in the tech? Can someone break it down for me? Thx!

Re:Whats the real difference? (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851203)

Remember those rabit ears on old TVs? That's "super WiFi." At least that is what I gathered from TFA. I am no expert on the topic.

Re:Whats the real difference? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852591)

This tech operates at a much lower frequency (54 - 890 MHz), while WiFi operates at either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Ground-based broadcasting stations can transmit the previous frequencies omnidirectionally at significantly longer ranges without line-of-site between transmission sources. Long-range WiFi transmission requires directional antennas, so wide area coverage requires a much greater investment in equipment as well as direct line-of-site between transmission points.

Summary (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850617)

Why can't the summary just say that "super wifi" isn't "wifi" because "wifi" isn't a trademark, and not for any actual meaningful reasons?

Although this quote was well worth skimming the article for:

The term 'Super WiFi' is a verbal tool for conveying a thought or concept in an easy-to-understand way, such as when a child asks for a Band-Aid for a boo-boo, and you give him or her a generic brand plastic adhesive," a Wireless Innovation Alliance spokesperson said in a statement."

Re:Summary (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850683)

Why can't the summary just say that "super wifi" isn't "wifi" because "wifi" isn't a trademark, and not for any actual meaningful reasons?

Although this quote was well worth skimming the article for:

The term 'Super WiFi' is a verbal tool for conveying a thought or concept in an easy-to-understand way, such as when a child asks for a Band-Aid for a boo-boo, and you give him or her a generic brand plastic adhesive," a Wireless Innovation Alliance spokesperson said in a statement."

But, if you go to a store and ask for Band-Aids and they give you a generic brand plastic adhesive, that's trademark infringement. Same reason why restaurant servers have to correct you when you ask for Coke, say, and they only have Pepsi.

Re:Summary (1, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850713)

"But, if you go to a store and ask for Band-Aids and they give you a generic brand plastic adhesive, that's trademark infringement. Same reason why restaurant servers have to correct you when you ask for Coke, say, and they only have Pepsi." This is some logical diarrhea here. They say 'We only have Pepsi" because alot of people are like me and if I order Coke and it comes back Pepsi im gonna scream loudly. Has nothing to do with trademarks and everything to do with CUSTOMER SERVICE. Also in alot of the US South, Coke is all pop, be it sprite, mt dew, 7up its all coke to them.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850831)

Well, in some parts of the south the generic soft drink is coke, but in others it is Dr. Pepper. It took awhile for me to to see a citrus drink called a Dr. Pepper. To sum, language is fluid. What was once specific becomes a name for a class or generic concept. There are languages in which abstract concepts are represented by naming specific items or events so that the characteristics of the concrete example give recognition of the general, abstract idea. I do recall a Star Trek episode of the original series based on this system of language.

Re:Summary (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850967)

"But, if you go to a store and ask for Band-Aids and they give you a generic brand plastic adhesive, that's trademark infringement. Same reason why restaurant servers have to correct you when you ask for Coke, say, and they only have Pepsi."

This is some logical diarrhea here. They say 'We only have Pepsi" because alot of people are like me and if I order Coke and it comes back Pepsi im gonna scream loudly. Has nothing to do with trademarks and everything to do with CUSTOMER SERVICE.

1) That says nothing about the logic involved... if you're going to call something "logical diarrhea," you should explain why the logic is false.

2) You're wrong. Specifically, the statutes involved are 15 USC 1114 (Lanham Act sec. 32) if the trademark is registered, and 15 USC 1125 (Lanham Act sec. 43) if it's not. Coke and Pepsi are, of course, registered, so 1114 is the relevant one:

Any person who, on or in connection with any goods [e.g. selling Pepsi]... uses in commerce any word [e.g. "Coke"]... which--
(A) is likely... to cause mistake... as to the origin... of his or her goods... shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

It's known as "passing off", and is actionable.

Also in alot of the US South, Coke is all pop, be it sprite, mt dew, 7up its all coke to them.

Yep, and sellers there are supposed to correct it. If they bring Sprite when someone asks for "Coke", then they've infringed the trademark.

Re:Summary (2)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851133)

Actually, unless the person giving you the drink TELLS YOU the Pepsi is Coke, it still isn't infringement, just poor service. If the server called it Coke, then its a problem, since the statute states rather explicitly that the person uses a word in commerce that could cause confusion as to the origin of goods, then it's infringement. It says nothing at all about the customer asking for something and being given something else, or not correcting them in THEIR usage.

Your waiter will likely never say to your request for Coke "Sorry, but I am required by law to inform you we sell Pepsi." What they say is "Is Pepsi ok?" Because they know if they don't ask, someone will complain. It has nothing at all to do with being legally required to do so.

Re:Summary (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851301)

Actually, unless the person giving you the drink TELLS YOU the Pepsi is Coke, it still isn't infringement, just poor service. If the server called it Coke, then its a problem, since the statute states rather explicitly that the person uses a word in commerce that could cause confusion as to the origin of goods, then it's infringement. It says nothing at all about the customer asking for something and being given something else, or not correcting them in THEIR usage.

Sorry, not true. And yes, there have been successful lawsuits over this.

Your waiter will likely never say to your request for Coke "Sorry, but I am required by law to inform you we sell Pepsi." What they say is "Is Pepsi ok?" Because they know if they don't ask, someone will complain. It has nothing at all to do with being legally required to do so.

They don't have to inform you that they're complying with the law. Asking if Pepsi okay corrects the misunderstanding and thus avoids any chance of confusion, removing any possibility of trademark infringement.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850763)

You might want to learn what trademark infringement is before you start talking about it. If the Band-Aids competitor labels/advertises their product as OurPorudct Band-Aids, that's that infringement. As the other replier noted, the Coke/Pepsi thing has more to do with brand/taste loyalty than trademark. If the menu said Coke, and then they served Pepsi, that'd be something different.

Re:Summary (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850777)

What about "Bands-Aid"?

Re:Summary (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851227)

A rock concert benefiting some charity or another. Frequently, but not always, a worthless one.

Re:Summary (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850765)

The reason restaurant servers tell you (they don't correct you) when they don't have Coke is because Coke and Pepsi apparently taste different and some people get very upset at the substitution. I guess you didn't grow up in the 80's hey?

I've never been to a store (or anywhere else) where anyone cared the slightest bit about the difference between actual Band-Aids and other brands, or between Kleenex and other tissues for that matter.

Re:Summary (1)

cellmaker (621214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850887)

The reason restaurant servers tell you (they don't correct you) when they don't have Coke is because Coke and Pepsi apparently taste different and some people get very upset at the substitution. I guess you didn't grow up in the 80's hey?

There was a period of time where Pepsi and Coke very much minded. Servers everywhere were distinguishing which vendors product they carried ("Coke please". "Sorry, we only have Pepsi".) as if they were each individually monitored at all times. I quite often did not care, so I would ask for a diet cola. The response? "Sorry, we only have..."

Re:Summary (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850977)

The reason restaurant servers tell you (they don't correct you) when they don't have Coke is because Coke and Pepsi apparently taste different and some people get very upset at the substitution. I guess you didn't grow up in the 80's hey?

It's also so that they can avoid a lawsuit under 15 USC 1125 from Coke or Pepsi.

I've never been to a store (or anywhere else) where anyone cared the slightest bit about the difference between actual Band-Aids and other brands, or between Kleenex and other tissues for that matter.

You should probably make a note of them. Companies like Johnson and Johnson or Kimberly-Clark will frequently pay a bounty for information about retailers infringing their trademarks through passing off of generics.

Don't encourage ratting (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851089)

A snotrag by any other name ...
Why get some kid (or other underpaid clerk) fired or hassled with retraining for not kowtowing to a megacorp's attempts at being monopolistic over a term that has, for all intents and purposes, entered the common vernacular to mean "tissue"?
Ratting on people is just sucky. If you personally want a Kleenex branded thin piece of paper to wipe your nose/mouth/ass on, do the decent thing and tell them to their face that they must have misunderstood your request. The other 50 (imaginary) people in the queue behind you probably don't give a crap.

Re:Summary (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851149)

Still wrong. Unless the merchant tells you it is Coke, then serves you Pepsi, no infringement has occurred. They aren't required to correct you in any way.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851105)

It's incorrect to use the Band-Aid analogy as both Band-Aids and generic bandages do exactly the same thing.

In this case you have a technology being referred to as Super-WiFi when none of the existing, or upcoming, WiFi branded devices will work with the technology. So there is a real meaningful difference.

It's more like going to the store and asking for a shovel and being given a garden hose...

Re:Summary (2, Informative)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851121)

It's incorrect to use the Band-Aid analogy as both Band-Aids and generic bandages do exactly the same thing.

In this case you have a technology being referred to as Super-WiFi when none of the existing, or upcoming, WiFi branded devices will work with the technology. So there is a real meaningful difference.

It's more like going to the store and asking for a shovel and being given a garden hose...

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38852337)

...do exactly the same thing... Tell that to someone with an allergy to the formaldehyde in some, but not all, adhesive bandage brands' adhesives.

and marketing people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850783)

aren't *really* people at all!

Silly article. (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850847)

It contains a brief admission that they're actually using it in conjunction with... you guessed it..wifi. So the solution they're rolling out first literally uses wifi. It acts as basically an extender to provide...wifi. I shall dub it "Super Wifi".

Granted they probably won't always use this topology, but my bet is it will be very popular. So literally it provides extended range wifi. What the fuck is this guy in the article on about, exactly, then?

Re:Silly article. (1)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851205)

In Wilmington, the white-space network will initially provide backhaul to public Wi-Fi routers in two parks and connect four Webcams in a local garden, according to Forbes.

This new technology is used to link individual Wi-Fi LANs. The technology itself has as much to do with Wi-Fi as does your home cable/DSL internet connection because it's hooked up to a router with Wi-Fi.

Re:Silly article. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852151)

And probably anal retentive dweebs really care about that distinction. People using hear "you can connect to a wifi network all over the city" and think "Super Wifi, that totally makes sense".

This seems about as meaningful a thing to get upset about as the fact that "hacker" now means "malicious hacker/cracker" to most people. Quick, call in the pedantic nerds!

Useless article (2, Informative)

methano (519830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38850857)

So the real question is, if I go to Wilmington, can I hook up to their wireless network with my WiFi enabled iPad, PC, Phone, whatever? The article doesn't say. I kind of think not, but the article doesn't say. And that's the real difference. Most of us think it's OK to call it WiFi if we can connect with our WiFi enabled devices. If we can't, it's not WiFi and they shouldn't be using the term. So I still don't know the answer.

Re:Useless article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851033)

the answer is NO. if you had actually RTFAed :
You can't put a white-space radio into a phone or laptop because each white-space device must check its location against a database to determine which TV channels and wireless microphones are being used in the device's area, so they can avoid those channels.

Re:Useless article (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851041)

So the real question is, if I go to Wilmington, can I hook up to their wireless network with my WiFi enabled iPad, PC, Phone, whatever? The article doesn't say. I kind of think not, but the article doesn't say. And that's the real difference. Most of us think it's OK to call it WiFi if we can connect with our WiFi enabled devices. If we can't, it's not WiFi and they shouldn't be using the term.

So I still don't know the answer.

The answer is no, you can't.

But in many places you can't connect to their Wifi network using your 802.11b-only Wifi device because they restrict it to 802.11g only (because they don't want 11b devices slowing down everyone else). And you can't connect with your 802.11a-only Wifi device because their network only supports 2.4Ghz. And some places may keep you from connecting to their 802.11n enabled network with 802.11bg-only devices. And even if you connect with an 802.11n capable device, you may or may not see any 802.11n speeds depending on whether or not your device supports dual-band 802.11n.

Even "Wifi" is not always "Wifi".

Re:Useless article (1)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851257)

No, this new technology uses a completely different range of frequencies. At first it will only operate in fixed-location devices even.

You can't put a white-space radio into a phone or laptop because each white-space device must check its location against a database to determine which TV channels and wireless microphones are being used in the device's area, so they can avoid those channels.

802.xx (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38850923)

One of the confusions here is that "Super Wi-Fi" is the colloquial name for the 802.22 WRAN standard, while "Wi-Fi" is the slightly-less colloquial name for the 802.11 WLAN standard. People see 802 and think Wi-Fi.

Re:802.xx (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851079)

When someone says 802.3 I think Ethernet, not Wi-Fi.
WiFi is 802.11a/b/g/n

Re:802.xx (2)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851347)

People see 802 and think Wi-Fi.

They shouldn't. IEEE 802 [wikipedia.org] defines LAN/MAN standards. Ethernet is 802.3, Bluetooth PAN is 802.15, and WiMAX is 802.16. "Wi-Fi" is a trademarked brand name for products using the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. This new technology has as much in common with Wi-Fi as Bluetooth and WiMAX do; there's no reason for it to mooch off the Wi-Fi name rather than using its own (perhaps the "Wi-Far" suggested above, along the same line as WiMAX).

They should be sued for trademark violation (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851071)

Customer: "I was told my new ***** has the latest WiFi in it, but its not working"
Poor helpdesk worker: "That's because Super Wi-Fi isn't compatible with WiFi"
Customer: "Who's stupid idea was it to call it Super Wi-Fi then?"
Poor helpdesk worker: "Someone who thought it would help you understand what it is"
Customer: "But now I'm even more confused"

Re:They should be sued for trademark violation (2)

stdarg (456557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851969)

No chance -- I think part of the thing for trademarks is you're supposed to protect them. Well look at this article from 2007:

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/columns/article.php/3674591 [wi-fiplanet.com]

Frank Hanzlik, the current managing director for the Wi-Fi Alliance, was not at the meetings where the Interbrand names were discussed, but he was a member of WECA and he is now entrusted with protecting and perpetuating the Wi-Fi brand. He confirms that "wireless fidelity" has no meaning, is not part of the trademark, and is not used or encouraged to be used by the Wi-Fi Alliance. However, he feels no need to aggressively correct those who use it, since what's most important to his organization is simply that "Wi-Fi" continues to be a household name.

"In the very early days of building the brand, there was a linkage to the hi-fi chronology," says Hanzlik. "It was successful in creating a positive connotation of what that could mean to a user. Over the last seven years, the term Wi-Fi has become quite ubiquitous in the developed part of the world. We just try to keep it simple and use only Wi-Fi."

"We declared victory when we made the Merriam-Webster dictionary," says Hanzlik. "Now we encourage everyone to use Wi-Fi versus 'wireless LAN,' because it resonates more with folks -- but we do enforce the Wi-Fi Certified and the Wi-Fi Alliance brands and logos."

So they had no problem with people using wi-fi incorrectly, assigning it an incorrect meaning, or any desire to prevent it from becoming a common word in the dictionary, or a household name (which I think is pretty close to saying generic). I mean he's even saying "just use wi-fi instead of wireless lan." Okay... that's like kleenex saying "Just say kleenex instead of tissue paper" and then getting mad when people use kleenex to refer to tissue paper. All they care about was "wi-fi certified" and "wi-fi alliance". Well, nobody called it super "wi-fi certified".

As for their victory in the dictionary:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wi-fi [merriam-webster.com]

Definition of WI-FI

—used to certify the interoperability of wireless computer networking devices

Doesn't even mention 802.11a/b/g/n.. just wireless. Based on that definition, any wireless networking standard can call itself wi-fi. That's just plain English at this point, and that was endorsed by the wifi alliance just a few years ago.

WiFi? (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851099)

Who cares? I've never heard anyone speak of "WiFi". IEEE 802.11 is called WLAN, except by some marketing guys.

Or is this a local issue?

Re:WiFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851715)

Get out of the lab sometime and mix with the nearby village peasants. You might be surprised that they speak a different language.

The Most Confusing Service In The World (3, Funny)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851135)

I don't always use WiFi, but when I do, I use SUPER WiFi.

They should defend the trademark in court (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851185)

"WiFi" may be a common term, but if it's a trademarked common term, the trademark holders should be suing for it's infringement by "Super WiFi".

I'm quite certain if you started talking about your "Super Kleenex" product, you'd have some lawyers on your butt, no matter how "generic" the term Kleenex may be in public usage.

Really Wi-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851497)

I never heard of Really Wi-Fi is that a new product or something? :)

am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38851559)

that pronounces it wee-fee

Wi-Fi vs wifi (2)

denbesten (63853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851639)

Seems like a lawyer either will be explaining the concept of trademark to his client or will be defending the claim that "Wi-Fi" and "wifi" are not "confusingly similar" to a judge.

The Wi-Fi Alliance's only real next step is to defend their trademark in an attempt to prevent it from becoming genericized [wikipedia.org] .

Considering the term "WiFi" is a misnomer anyway.. (3, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38851653)

...I'll just chalk this up to pedantics. There is no "fidelity" to wireless anyway. HiFi makes sense. WiFi doesn't. This whole things is stupid, now stop taking it so seriously.

wifi implies you wouldn't need operator to join (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38852257)

or operate. thus gaining goodwill.

marketing whitespace as wifi is just piggypacking on wifi's success that comes with the ease of just being able to join a network in starbucks or wherever.

4g sounds expensive, especially if you're in the states.

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