The Wi-Fi Alliance, the nonprofit organization that has promoted Wi-Fi technology and certifies products for passing certain Wi-Fi standards, will finally make things simple with Wi-Fi 6.
Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of Wi-Fi technology, was formerly known as 802.11ax. The general public have long been confused with the names of the Wi-Fi versions, but by moving to a numbered scheme, the Wi-Fi Alliance hopes that users will start understanding more about the technology.
Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 802.11ax
Most people would not know the difference between 802.11n and 802.11ac, that the latter is actually an improved version of the former, and that the next version will be named 802.11ax.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, which comes up with these jumbles of numbers and letters, has finally decided to simplify things. The group has decided to change the name of the 802.11ax to Wi-Fi 6, and retroactively rename 802.11n and 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5, respectively.
"For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi," said Wi-Fi Alliance President and CEO Edgar Figueroa in a statement. "Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection."
Similar to how device manufacturers attach increasing numbers to improving smartphones, each new generation of Wi-Fi will offer features such as faster speeds, higher throughput, and overall better experiences.
The IEEE-defined names will still be used, but they will be mostly behind the scenes. What consumers will see will be the new numbered names, starting with products that say "certified for Wi-Fi 6" coming next year.
Did The Wi-Fi Alliance Do The Right Thing?
Changing names in the tech industry may be tough, as users may take some time before they are able to reconcile the old and new labels. However, when comparing names such as 802.11ax and Wi-Fi 6, it is clear what consumers will likely remember.
The concern now is whether the Wi-Fi Alliance will take things further and eventually give names such as Wi-Fi XS Max and Wi-Fi Creators Edition.