You may never have paid attention to Wi-Fi specs when buying a wireless networking product like a router. If you’re like the many users who don’t care for the technicalities and differences between 802.11ac or a/b/g/n then rejoice, because the Wi-Fi Alliance is making it easier to understand it all. Version numbers have been introduced for WiFi and the next generation of wireless networking, WiFi 6, will be out next year.
Wi-Fi versions were previously identified by letters which corresponded to a wireless standard. The current version is 802.11ac. Before this, there was 802.11n, g, a, and b. It wasn’t easy to comprehend which was the latest so the Wi-Fi Alliance is doing us all a favor and streamlining this with simple version numbers.
The next generation of wireless networking will be called WiFi 6. This will make it simple for even the most novice of users to understand that WiFi 6 is going to be better than WiFi 5, for example. A similar change has been made to the existing versions as well so 802.11n will now be called WiFi 4 while 802.11ac will be called WiFi 5.
There’s obviously no compulsion on manufacturers to use this nomenclature as the Wi-Fi Alliance can’t force them to do so but the industry as a whole will likely adopt this as it just makes things easier for everyone.