Why is the number 802 used for IEEE 802 and what is its meaning? Can you explain how these numbers are assigned in general as well as what 802 in particular is?
IEEE = Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a professional association chartered for the advancement of technology.
802 is specific to networks with variable packet sizes and is not all-encompassing for networking specifications in general.
Actually, the answer to this question was recently given by Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet Inventor, at the November 2013 802 Plenary session in Texas. The wikipedia article is a misstatement in that 802 was available, not the "next available".
Here is a link to the tweet from the official IEEE Standards Association twitter account mentioning the etymology of 802.