Pronunciation of WLAN Terms

Pronunciation of WLAN Terms

By CWNP On 05/04/2009 - 26 Comments

OK, I know I'm just being a bit 'picky' here... but I've found a correlation in a variety of industries with respect to how professionals pronounce a 'short-hand' version of an acronym versus the 'layman' way.

My wife is a Labor & Delivery Nurse, and they don't call the OB Docs 'awbzz' ('obs') - they call them 'O', 'B' doctors.

In the old days, when Apple Macintosh computers first came out the SCSI interface wasn't called 'sexy' (like I heard many uniformed people use) - nor was is 'S', 'C', 'S', 'I' either. It was just 'Scuzzy'.

In our industry of Wireless Networks, we too have acronmyns that sometimes get 'shortened' - No one calls the WWW in front of a URL 'wwwwwwaaah' - pronouncing the letters, you call it 'W', 'W', 'W'...

WLAN is 'W', then 'lan' - Get the picture? - you could also say this one as 'Wireless', 'lan'. But never 'wha-lan'.

Now lets go over the ones that the folks who work at Best Buy always seem to get wrong. If you are using the wrong pronunciation... please stop. That is unless you *want* to work at Radio Shack or Best Buy...

AP - pronounced 'A', 'P'... this is not a 'wap', or an 'app' - an Access Point is NOT an application, and it is not the sound of a flag 'wapping' in the wind - wap, wap, wap... An Access Point is an 'A', 'P'.

Wireless Access Point - this is an Access Point (do you know of other networking devices that are Access Points that are not wireless?) - call it an 'A', 'P'. This is NOT a WAP... it is an 'A', 'P'.

VoIP - this one can go two ways. Either 'voip' ('vo ee p') - starting to enter common nomenclature... or just spell it out 'V', 'O', 'I', 'P'.  You could even use the more formal version of 'Voice over IP' and nobody will complain.

SSID - a Service Set Identifier - pronounced 'S','S','I','D' - it is not a 'sid' - a 'SID' is a term used to describe the unique identifier on a Windows Hard Drive... it has nothing to do with Wireless LANs. If you want the plural, it is 'S', 'S', 'I', 'Ds' - put the 's' sound after the last 'D'.

MAC Layer broadcast address isn't 'fffffwwff' - but 'F', 'F', 'F'... I prefer 'the broadcastMAC address' personally because everyone should just know what that is.  It's easy to memorize, no?

Normally when you have to say a MAC Address out loud - just use the last four digits (counting from the right side) - and say them out loud - one letter or number at a time. To be very sure that your recipient heard it correctly - you could also repeat it, but this time use the international phonetic codes for the letters. Something like 'One', 'Foxtrot', 'Alpha', 'Four' for 1F:A4.

(don't know the codes? - spend a free moment sometime just memorizing them. You will sound more professional if you use the correct terms rather than making up some word for the letter 'N' on the fly... "like N as in never")

In the CWNP program we try to use the 'correct' terms for everything. The 'Rosetta Stone' article was one step toward making industry terms shared and to mean a specific thing. The next step was the CWNP dictionary.  Now, the Devinator is working with well-known and popular technology writers and analysts to put together a new vendor-specific terminology base.  As an industry, we're maturing, and terminology is very important to forward progress.

Is there any other terms that you've heard mis-pronounced?

Keith Parsons, CWNE #3
The WLAN Iconoclast
Keith at
May 2nd, 2009
Orem, UT, USA

Additional Articles for Supporting WLAN Site Surveys
- 7 Rules for Accurate Site Surveys
- How to 'Cheat' On A Survey - Don't be a Victim
- How to Properly Analyze Survey Data
- The Fallacy of Channel Overlap
- Predictive Survey vs Onsite Survey - What's the Big Deal?
- How to 'Spec' your Network's Physical Layer
- Want, Don't Want, Don't Care - Meeting Design Specs
- The Truth about SNR - Where Did that 'N' Come From Anyway?
- What is an Access Point Anyway - Hub, Bridge, Switch or Router?
- Passive vs Active - What's All the Fuss About
- The False God of dB
- Meeting All Device Design Parameters

Blog Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within these blog posts are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Certitrek, CWNP or its affiliates.

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