The Wi-Fi Alliance, a worldwide network of of manufacturers and software companies, announced Wi-Fi 6 today based on 802.11ax technology. Wi-Fi 6 introduces a new naming scheme for Wi-fi generations that uses generation terminology to make identification more straightforward.
The general consensus in regards to WiFi devices, be it routers, modems, or smartphones, is that it is always better when devices support the newest WiFi technology as they promise better performance, power usage, and other benefits over previous generations.
Up until now, you had to do a bit of research to find out whether a device should support standards like 802.11ac or 802.11n, and which of the standards refered to the latest technology generation.
It is impossible to tell based on the name alone if you never encountered these terms before. While it is easy enough to find out that 802.11ax is the newest standard followed by 802.11ac and then 802.11n, it is still not the best of naming schemes considering that research is required to find out about it in first place.
802.11 refers to a set of standards of wireless network transmission methods and you may have come upon others, such as 802.11b in the past. 802.11n and 802.ac are probably the most common standards in use today.
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced today that it will use generational terminology for Wi-fi technologies going forward.
The Wi-Fi Alliance refers to 802.11ax as Wi-Fi 6 and uses the same naming scheme to refer to 802.11ac as Wi-Fi 5 and 802.11n as Wi-Fi 4.
The new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi. The generation names can be used by product vendors to identify the latest Wi-Fi technology a device supports, by OS vendors to identify the generation of Wi-Fi connection between a device and network, and by service providers to identify the capabilities of a Wi-Fi network to their customers.
The new naming scheme should make things easier for consumers and companies alike. As a user, all you have to do now is make sure that the device supports the latest standard which is Wi-Fi 6 right now. While you still need to know that 6 refers to the latest generation, it is certainly better than having to remember that the device should support 802.11ax technology.
The alliance suggests to companies to incorporate the wireless generation in the user interface of devices as well. The device would show a number, e.g. 6, to visualize the standard to the user and reflect changes when connections change.
Certification, which will use the generation name Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6, comes in 2019.
Wi-Fi 6 promises improvements such as higher data rates, increased capacities or improved power efficiency. You can read the intro to Wi-Fi 6 on the Wi-Fi Alliance website.
The organization launched the new WPA3 security standard in mid-2018.Advertisement
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