WiFi standards switch to simpler naming scheme
MANILA, Philippines – You've seen those messy WiFi designations, right? 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b – these are WiFi standards with newer versions generally producing better throughput. They can also be a mouthful to say, and tough to remember.
The very institution that manages these designations and sets protocol standards, the WiFi Alliance, realized this themselves. So they're simplifying things, starting with next generation WiFi 802.11ax, which will now be simply called WiFi 6.
Newer versions will be called WiFi 7, WiFi 8, and so on. The labeling tweak is also retroactive to an extent with 802.11ac being called WiFi 5, and 802.11n being called WiFi 4.
The alliance announced this on their website.
The simplification is meant to benefit consumers, and makes it easier to see what devices – routers, phones, computers – work with what kind of network.
“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 in a post on their website.
“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.”
Industry partners gave the move a thumbs up as well. “Given the central role Wi-Fi plays in delivering connected experiences to hundreds of millions of people every day, and with next generation technologies like 802.11ax emerging, the Wi-Fi Alliance generational naming scheme for Wi-Fi is an intuitive and necessary approach to defining Wi-Fi’s value for our industry and consumers alike," Rahul Patel, a senior vice president from chip manufacturer Qualcomm said. – Rappler.com