Can’t remember whether 802.11ax is faster than 802.11ac or how they both related to 802.11ad? Starting next year, things should get a little easier, because the WiFi Alliance has announced the move to a simpler naming scheme for versions of the wireless data protocol.

We’ll start to see the first devices featuring 802.11ax technology in 2019… but they’ll probably have a new label on them: WiFi 6.

WiFi Alliance

Aside from the new name, there aren’t many surprises. As expected, WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is expected to bring support for higher data transfer speeds, increased capacity, improved power efficiency, and better performance in environments with a lot of wireless activity.

If you’re wondering why 802.11ax is is WiFi 6 instead of WiFi 1, it’s because the WiFi Alliance is also giving new names to most of the older versions of the wireless protocol:

  • 802.11b = WiFi 1
  • 802.11a = WiFi 2
  • 802.11g = WiFi 3
  • 802.11n = WiFi 4
  • 802.11ac = WiFi 5
  • 802.11ax = WiFi 6

By the time WiFi 7 rolls around, it’ll be a little easier to understand at a glance that it should be a newer version of the wireless standard than WiFi 6.

The Alliance is also hoping device makers and software developers incorporate new indicators into their user interfaces, so you’ll be able to quickly spot what type of WiFi network you’re connected to when using PCs, tablets, smartphones or other devices.

via WiFi Alliance (1) (2)

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4 replies on “WiFi 6 is coming next year (faster data, improved efficiency, simpler naming)”

  1. The Wi-Fi Alliance page linked boasts increased performance in dense public venues such as stadiums, airports and train stations. Does anyone even use WiFi in public anymore? I thought it was a major security risk. And there is no mention of any improved security with the roll-out of WiFi 6.

    1. I think it depends on your data plan, but I would tend to agree because I don’t use public wifi much due to those concerns.

  2. Wifi 1 – The PDA calendar downloader
    Wifi 2 – You’re not going to use this
    Wifi 3 – Finally usable
    Wifi 4 – Things are getting crowded
    Wifi 5 – Works great – just don’t touch the 2.4ghz
    Wifi 6 – hopefully better

  3. I assume the reference to 802.11 ac being Wifi 6 is a typo, right?

    I’m glad they’re getting rid of the 802.11 part–that is the part I find too hard to remember.

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