What Is Wi-Fi 6? New Wi-Fi Names Explained

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Since its inception, Wi-Fi has struggled with a lack of brand recognition. The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) establishes the universal wireless networking standard and uses a cryptic numbering system.

This is the original Wi-Fi standard, which is referred to as 802.11, followed by the letters 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and so on. Engineers had to wrap their heads around the fact that 802.11ad isn’t an extension to 802.11a, but rather an amendment of its own.

This has always been a source of consternation for me (is ac really that much faster?). It’s finally been renamed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that certifies and brands Wi-Fi.

We’re now using version numbers instead of letters. While there is no official Wi-Fi 1, 2, or 3, there are locations in Wi-history Fi’s where those versions can be found. These are the new names for the current six consumer standards.

Outdated Title New Title Launched Max. Velocity Bands
802.11b “Wi-Fi 1” (unofficial) 1999 11Mbps 2.4GHz
802.11a “Wi-Fi 2” (unofficial) 1999 54Mbps 5GHz
802.11g “Wi-Fi 3” (unofficial) 2003 54Mbps 2.4GHz
802.11n Wi-Fi 4 2009 600Mbps 2.4GHz and 5GHz
802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 2013 3.46Gbps 5GHz
802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 2018/2019 10.53Gbps 2.4GHz and 5GHz

In 2019, these new names are anticipated to gain traction, and by 2020, they will be widely used. Routers, laptops, and other Wi-Fi equipment will all use the new numbering system going forward.

The Wi-Fi Alliance wants device makers to utilize user interface icons to show the Wi-Fi level a device is connected to in order to encourage customers to upgrade their Wi-Fi equipment. You’ll see an icon warning you that you need to upgrade your devices if you receive a Wi-Fi 6 router but all of your devices are still on Wi-Fi 4.

What’s the big deal with Wi-Fi 6? In 2017, I penned an explanation of what was formerly known as 802.11ax. Details are correct except for the launch dates, which were too optimistic. In other words, 802.11ax is a game-changer in densely populated Wi-Fi hotspots where multiple networks coexist or where there are many concurrent users.

This summer, 802.11ax access points went on sale ahead of 2019’s planned formal certification. As of right now, no 802.11ax clients exist, but by the end of 2019, several mobile phones should support it.

Wi-Fi Generations

Wi-Fi Alphabet Soup

The 802.11 standard comes in a variety of flavors, not just the well-known Wi-Fi flavors. There have been 802.11 working groups since the 1990s and the IEEE is now working on improvements to the Wi-Fi standard that won’t be in place for another two years. , you can see all of these changes in action. However, here’s a quick synopsis of what each one accomplishes and when it was approved.

802.11 … What does it do? Publish Date
a Outdated Wi-Fi commonplace for high-speed 5GHz networks. 1999
b The oldest client Wi-Fi commonplace. 1999
c A regular that explains how wi-fi bridges work. 1997
d It helps Wi-Fi adjust to totally different nations’ spectrum rules. 2001
e A top-quality-of-service system is wanted for Skype and such. 2005
f An approach for entry factors to speak to one another. 2003
g Shopper Wi-Fi that was as quick as 802.11a. 2003
h A modification to forestall Wi-Fi gadgets from interfering with satellites and radar. 2003
i The WPA2 safety is commonplace for encrypting Wi-Fi connections. 2004
j A modification to let Wi-Fi work on a brand that is solely out there in Japan. 2004
ok It helps shoppers roam between entry factors on the identical community. 2008
n “Speedy” Wi-Fi launched in 2009; now, Wi-Fi 4. 2009
p Automotive-to-car networking for driverless vehicles. 2010
r Sooner handoffs between entry factors, principally for Wi-Fi telephones. 2008
s Mesh networking. 2011
you “Hotspot 2.0” authentication for public entry factors. 2011
v Let’s Wi-Fi gadgets chat with one another about community situations. 2011
w A low-level safety commonplace. 2009
y 802.11a Wi-Fi within the 3.6GHz band. 2008
z Tunneled direct hyperlinks, much like Wi-Fi Direct. 2010
ac Speedier Wi-Fi commonplace, now known as Wi-Fi 5. 2013
advert “Wi-Gig” for transmitting information very short distances on the 60GHz band. 2012
af “White Areas” are commonplace for transmitting Wi-Fi over empty TV channels. 2013
ah Low energy, low velocity, prolonged vary information transmission, aka “Wi-Fi HaLow.” 2017
ak Let’s Wi-Fi is used to bridge different networks extra effectively. 2018
ai A regular that lets Wi-Fi gadgets connect to a community in 100ms. 2016
aj Wi-Gig for China utilizing the 45GHz band. 2018
aq A regular to assist gadgets to negotiate connections. 2018
Not locked down, but…
ax Wi-Fi 6, the subsequent model of fast client Wi-Fi. 2019
ay A proposed enhancement to Wi-Gig to make it sooner. 2019
az An approach for Wi-Fi gadgets to raise decide their physical lets location. 2021
ba “Get up radios” that use little or no energy to get up the primary radio. 2020
bb Networking utilizing seen gentle. 2021

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