Wednesday, October 3, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Wi-Fi Alliance Introduces Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi Alliance (Hacker News):

Wi-Fi 6 is part of a new naming approach by Wi-Fi Alliance that provides users with an easy-to-understand designation for both the Wi-Fi technology supported by their device and used in a connection the device makes with a Wi-Fi network.

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 generational terminology may also be used to designate previous Wi-Fi generations, such as 802.11n or 802.11ac.

Jacob Kastrenakes:

It’ll probably make more sense this way, starting with the first version of Wi-Fi, 802.11b:

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)

Jason Snell:

Much as I’ll miss the esoteric letters, this will be a heck of a lot easier to explain to non-techie family and friends. We’re all accustomed to version numbers these days.

The one downside (for users) is that it probably will end up making some people feel like they need to upgrade when their setup is still probably fine—the limiting factor to your Internet speeds isn’t usually your Wi-Fi setup. (Still on Wi-Fi 4 here, friends!)

Update (2018-10-09): Glenn Fleishman:

The Wi-Fi Alliance’s new numbering system focuses on generations of speed improvements but looks back only to 802.11n, which is a decade old. Given that 802.11a and 802.11b were approved at the same time, implicitly calling them Wi-Fi 1 and Wi-Fi 2, and extending Wi-Fi 3 to 802.11g, isn’t quite right. But we anticipate people will do it anyway.

2 Comments

Yay. Just yay.

I'm not sure this bugs me. After all we started down this path with N600, AC1200, etc. Not a big deal to make things clearer for regular people.

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