The term "Wi-Fi" was trademark brainstormed by the Interband Marketing Group in August of 1999. The company wanted a name that could be recognized by households better than the previously used name for the technology: IEE 802.11b Direct Sequence. Phil Belanger, who is credited with the invention of the name, states that it was meant to be associated with the term "Hi-Fi" (High-Fidelity, suggesting that Wi-Fi carries a high quality signal).
Since the name was first used as branding, most scholarly articles were slow to switch terminology, preferring to refer to the network as "802.11b Direct Sequence", with the first appearance of the term not appearing in a scholarly journal until nearly 2003. Similar to the brand-name "Kleenex", the term is now used by the layperson to designate a local network that allows devices to transmit information over the airwaves.