The Wi-Fi Alliance has finally decided to introduce a proper nomenclature for its different versions. For those who haven’t heard of Wi-Fi Alliance before, Wi-Fi Alliance is the worldwide network of companies that offers Wi-Fi.
The organization has named the next-generation of Wi-Fi technology as Wi-Fi 6 and is expected to be released in 2019. Those devices that will support Wi-Fi 6 will be called "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6" starting 2019. The Wi-Fi certification ensures that devices are tested for interoperability, backward compatibility, and Internet security.
As usual, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer speeds. If you’re using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5.
Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this through more efficient data encoding, resulting in higher throughput. Mainly, more data is packed into the same radio waves. The chips that encode and decode these signals keep getting more powerful and can handle the extra work.
The Wi-Fi 6 technology is meant for devices that support 802.11ax technology. With the new naming approach, the Wi-Fi Alliance aims to make it easy for users to understand the differences in the Wi-Fi technologies and also know which device supports which version of Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi 6 is meant to identify devices that support 802.11ax technology while Wi-Fi 5 will identify devices that support 802.11ac technology. On the other hand, Wi-Fi 4 to identify devices that support 802.11n technology. Wi-Fi 6 is expected to an improved experience to address device and application needs in a range of consumer and enterprise environments.
“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. The 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," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance.
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.
Wi-Fi 6 is also designed in such a way that it provides better performance in crowded area. Normally Wi-Fi tends to get slow when connected in a crowded area due to the number of Wi-Fi enabled devices but the new Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, incorporates many new technologies to help with this. Intel trumpets that Wi-Fi 6 will improve each user’s average speed by “at least four times” in congested areas with a lot of connected devices.
This wouldn’t just apply to busy public places. It could apply to you at home if you have a lot of devices connected to Wi-Fi, or if you live in a dense apartment complex.