When discussing WiFi, ever feel like 802.11ax was a bit of a mouthful? Well the Wi-Fi Alliance is trying to make it easier for users across the board to understand which generation of WiFi technology is at play, with the introduction of a simplified numerical naming scheme.
Wi-Fi 6 is the new designation for products and networks that support next-gen WiFi based on 802.11ax technology, the organization announced this week.
The Wi-Fi Alliance says the new naming system can be used by a number of players, including product vendors to indicate which WiFi technology a device supports; by operating system vendors to identify the generation of WiFi connection between a device and network; and by service providers who can more easily illustrate to customers the capabilities of a WiFi network.
“For nearly two decades, WiFi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest WiFi,” says Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, in a statement. “Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and WiFi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection.”
The generational naming convention also extends to previous WiFi generations:
- Wi-Fi 5 to identify devices that support 802.11ac technology
- Wi-Fi 4 to identify devices that support 802.11n technology
The Wi-Fi Alliance said it expects the generational terminology to be broadly adopted across the WiFi ecosystem.
“Consumers love WiFi – nearly every Internet connected device has it and over 80 percent of all wireless traffic goes over it. The sixth generation of Wi-Fi – 802.11ax – is the most advanced ever, bringing faster speeds, greater capacity and coverage, and will make the user experience even more enjoyable,” says Vijay Nagarajan, senior director of marketing for Wireless Communications and Connectivity at Broadcom, in a statement. “This simple, generational representation will let consumers differentiate phones and wireless routers based on their WiFi capabilities, helping them pick the device that suits their needs best. When they see that their device contains Wi-Fi 6, they will know that they have the best wireless connectivity on the market.”
Starting with Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs based on major IEEE 802.11 releases will use the new naming scheme, with Wi-Fi Certified 6 certification coming in 2019.