Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pronunciation of WLAN Acronyms

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 applciation, 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'.

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'...

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 an 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.

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


  1. Cisco Wireless Services Module (WiSM) is pronounced Wise'em, not Whiz'em!

  2. Another is "Whiffy" for Wi-Fi - I come across it more often in the Scandinavian countries ..

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