A WAP upside the head

It's been drilled into all of us that the argument, "That's the way we've always done it," isn't really much of an argument at all, but more like an admission of defeat.

It's been drilled into all of us that the argument, "That's the way we've always done it," isn't really much of an argument at all, but more like an admission of defeat. When that's my only explanation for why I'm doing something a certain way, I have lost. If the current method is still the best, or is even still valid, then there's a better case to be made for it than, "That's the way we've always done it."

This reality hit me recently when I was questioned about some terminology we use here in Cabling Installation & Maintenance and on our website, cablinginstall.com. Specifically, I got in the midst of a fun and spirited Twitter discussion (check us out @cablingmag) about the use of the acronym WAP to mean wireless access point. Tweeter @JenniferLucille stated, "They're not WAPs. Stop saying WAPs please" (hashtags excluded). When @TheGoldChain replied "Wireless Access Points," (emojis excluded), @JenniferLucille responded, "The word 'wireless' is unnecessary. APs is the appropriate term" (emojis and other hashtag shenanigans excluded).

Then I got pulled in. @petergjones noted that we, along with others he knows in the cabling trade, use the term "WAP" pretty consistently. Because I was wearing my smarty pants that day, I said that if redundancy is the concern, then we'll stop calling them "WAPs" when everyone stops using the term "NIC card." Network interface card card. Now there's some redundancy for you. But when the discusson got real, I could not remember exactly why we began using the term "WAP" rather than "AP" to mean wireless access point. More than a decade ago, we put it to an audience vote. WAP won, and we've been using the term since.

But now I don't remember why "WAP" came into favor in the first place. Why did we even put it to a vote? I have this nagging vague memory that "AP" may also have meant something other than "access point," and using "WAP" to mean wireless access point avoided confusion. But you know what I am right now? Confused. Furthermore, today WAP also stands for Wireless Access Protocol and Wireless Application Protocol. So maybe a more-than-a-decade-old online poll isn't the best ground upon which to stand.

Please weigh in. Email me, Tweet us, or visit our Facebook or LinkedIn page to let us know which term you use, and why. I promise you we'll listen to what you have to say. That's the way we've always done it.

Patrick McLaughlin
patrick@pennwell.com

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