The World Area Forecast System (WAFS) Internet File Service (WIFS) is provided by the United States National Weather Service (NWS) Aviation Weather Center (AWC) as a highly reliable Internet source of meteorological products. The purpose of WIFS is to provide timely delivery of critical aviation-related weather information to support air traffic management and flight operations in over 80 countries, and regional meteorological telecommunications between the United States and nations in the Caribbean and Central America. This service is available to all authorized customers. Once the FAA approves a user state to access the WIFS system, the AWC will issue a user name and password which will be required to access the data. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in Amendment 75 to Annex 3, recognizes the use of the Internet to access aviation weather data in support of flight planning. The WIFS provides this capability and serves an important function backing up the International Satellite Communications System (ISCS). The FAA plans to discontinue the satellite service in June of 2012. The WIFS will become the primary service at that time.
The WIFS is an integral part of the AWC's Consolidated Aviation Web Services (CAWS) system which has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Qualified Internet Communications Provider (QICP). The CAWS system provides QICP certification and access to the real-time repository for the WIFS application via the HTTPS protocol. The primary open source product for access using the HTTPS protocol is the "GNU Wget package" (GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix" and is pronounced "guh-NEW"). For the purposes of meeting the ICAO Document 9855 (Guidelines on the Use of the Public Internet for Aeronautical Applications) and the FAA's Advisory Circular 00-62 for the Qualified Internet Communications Provider (QICP) requirement, there are three geographically remote web farms that house the WIFS data.