Wi-Fi Alliance introduced on Wednesday Wi-Fi 6 as the industry designation for products and networks that support the next generation of Wi-Fi, based on 802.11ax technology. Wi-Fi 6 is part of a new naming approach by Wi-Fi Alliance that provides users with a straightforward designation for both the Wi-Fi technology supported by their device and used in a connection the device makes with a Wi-Fi network.
Each generation of Wi-Fi offers new features – faster speeds, increased throughput, and better experiences. Industry adoption of the new terminology will help users better understand the experience they can expect. Wi-Fi 6 will deliver an improved experience to address device and application needs in a range of consumer and enterprise environments. The generational terminology is expected to be widely adopted by the Wi-Fi ecosystem.
Wi-Fi 6 devices based on the sixth generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, will deliver advanced capabilities to support diverse, high-performance networks, according to the alliance, which expects product manufacturers to begin using the new Wi-Fi terminology almost immediately. Broad use of Wi-Fi 6 naturally will occur as products that support 802.11ax come to market.
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. The numerical sequence includes Wi-Fi 6 to identify devices that support 802.11ax technology; Wi-Fi 5 to identify devices that support 802.11ac technology; and Wi-Fi 4 to identify devices that support 802.11n technology.
In addition to describing the capabilities of the device, device manufacturers or OS vendors can incorporate the generational terminology in User Interface (UI) visuals to indicate the current type of Wi-Fi connection. The UI visual will adjust as a device moves between Wi-Fi networks so users have real-time awareness of their device connection.
“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 Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “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.”
Beginning with Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs based on major IEEE 802.11 releases will use a generational Wi-Fi name; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 certification is coming next year.