Wi-Fi Alliance debuts Wi-Fi 6 to identify 802.11ax products

wi-fi cafe (pixabay)
Wi-Fi 6 will identify devices that support 802.11ax technology. (Pixabay)

Get ready for a new moniker to enter the Wi-Fi lexicon in the coming days, weeks and months. The Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi 6 as the official industry designation for products and networks that support the next generation of Wi-Fi based on 802.11ax technology.  

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.

“Wi-Fi has revolutionized nearly every aspect of the last two decades, fueling significant social and economic development. As we enter a new generation of connectivity, Wi-Fi isn’t resting on its laurels,” said Derek Peterson, chief technology officer at Boingo Wireless, in a press release. “We’re packing in new capabilities that deliver blazing fast speeds, high throughput, ultra-low latency, enhanced security and new features like target wake time for a seamless connected experience across a wide range of use cases. Boingo is proud to be part of this generational Wi-Fi launch and work alongside Wi-Fi Alliance to establish programs that further evolve the wireless ecosystem.”   

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceWireless!

The Wireless industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceWireless as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on this increasingly competitive marketplace. Sign up today to get wireless news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Here's how the numerical designations break down generationally:

  • Wi-Fi 6 to identify devices that support 802.11ax technology
  • Wi-Fi 5 to identify devices that support 802.11ac technology
  • Wi-Fi 4 to identify devices that support 802.11n technology

Of course, each generation of Wi-Fi offers new featuresfaster speeds, increased throughput, and better experiences. The alliance expects the generational terminology will be widely adopted by the Wi-Fi ecosystem, but it hasn’t always been so clear cut.

“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 the release. “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.”

Besides using the term to describe the capabilities of a 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, the alliance said.

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 in 2019.