Wednesday, October 3rd 2018

Welcome Wi-Fi 6, Goodbye 802.11ax: The Wi-Fi Alliance Reveals A New, Clearer Naming Scheme

Many of our readers would probably have no problem identifying the type of connectivity offered by Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac or 802.11n, but for many other users those differences have never been too clear.

That's precisely what the Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that defines these standards, wanted to solve. In an official announcement, this body has revealed the new scheme to name Wi-Fi versions. The new names will make those versions much more easily differentiated both by manufacturers and especially by users.
Thus, this new scheme will make use of a simple numbering that will keep equivalence with the different Wi-Fi generations and the technical names of those standards. From now on this naming approach will be the following:
  • 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
This simple change will make it possible to identify each generation in a clearer way, and as the Wi-Fi Alliance officials indicate, to associate these growing numbers with "faster speeds, increased throughput, and better experiences". Industry adoption will probably be quick, as in the official announcement manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, Aruba, Marvell, or NETGEAR have welcomed the news.

The announcement highlights the imminent appearance of solutions with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support, a new iteration of the standard that will offer higher data rates, increased capacity, good performance in dense environments and improved power efficiency. Source: Wi-Fi Alliance
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24 Comments on Welcome Wi-Fi 6, Goodbye 802.11ax: The Wi-Fi Alliance Reveals A New, Clearer Naming Scheme

#1
mcraygsx
They finally figured it out. :roll:
Posted on Reply
#2
windwhirl
So, they took like nearly 25 years to give it a consumer-friendly name... Oh, well. At least they didn't release one standard after the other, so not much harm done, if at all.
Posted on Reply
#3
BadFrog
Agreed but better late then never.
Posted on Reply
#4
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
I hate the new scam...

Easier to determine what equipment is needed with existing setup
Posted on Reply
#5
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
windwhirl, post: 3915542, member: 175818"
So, they took like nearly 25 years to give it a consumer-friendly name...
Have you ever worked with engineers?
Posted on Reply
#6
Gasaraki
eidairaman1, post: 3915578, member: 40556"
I hate the new scam...

Easier to determine what equipment is needed with existing setup
I like this system better than others because the number determines the technology used, not the actual speeds. So I know WiFi 6 = AX, WiFi 5 = AC. So now when they tell me WiFi 5 2600 Wireless Router, I know what that is. This is unlike the stupid MicroSD/SD Card classes which means nothing. A Class 10 or U3 class card doesn't mean it's fast so you still need to look at the actual speeds. Kinda defeats the purpose.
Posted on Reply
#7
BadFrog
Easy Rhino, post: 3915587, member: 32506"
Have you ever worked with engineers?
I haven't.... I assume it's easier because everyone know the language to talk? Talking to my parents (75+), they say they have internet. They have no idea how the networking works. But that brings another question... How to teach the end user the new stuff..
Posted on Reply
#8
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
BadFrog, post: 3915607, member: 172302"
I haven't.... I assume it's easier because everyone know the language to talk? Talking to my parents (75+), they say they have internet. They have no idea how the networking works. But that brings another question... How to teach the end user the new stuff..
Ha well the joke is that they are really bad at coming up with end user friendly names.

On a side note, Wow AX is going to be FAST!
Posted on Reply
#9
DeathtoGnomes
Easy Rhino, post: 3915622, member: 32506"
Ha well the joke is that they are really bad at coming up with end user friendly names.

On a side note, Wow AX is going to be FAST!
world-wide free wifi is right around the corner.
Posted on Reply
#10
Divide Overflow
Still waiting for the "imminent appearance" of this, under any name.
Posted on Reply
#11
CheapMeat
People might think the bigger number means better. But it's often just a different use case or domain where it excels. Luckily routers tend to be able to handle multiple spectrum, etc. But I can see someone getting a 60GHz USB router or something and thinking it'll work five rooms down and then leaving a bad review "I thought 6 was supposed to be better than 5!!!".
Posted on Reply
#12
Durvelle27
Interesting to say the least

But still will have variations because of the routers output speeds
Posted on Reply
#13
Prima.Vera
windwhirl, post: 3915542, member: 175818"
So, they took like nearly 25 years to give it a consumer-friendly name... Oh, well. At least they didn't release one standard after the other, so not much harm done, if at all.
Gasaraki, post: 3915591, member: 168493"
I like this system better than others because the number determines the technology used, not the actual speeds. So I know WiFi 6 = AX, WiFi 5 = AC. So now when they tell me WiFi 5 2600 Wireless Router, I know what that is. This is unlike the stupid MicroSD/SD Card classes which means nothing. A Class 10 or U3 class card doesn't mean it's fast so you still need to look at the actual speeds. Kinda defeats the purpose.
Aye. The MicroSD/SD Card classes naming conventions should be next on the list. They are not retarded, but utterly garbage and stupidly confusing. Almost as the naming schemes for Intel's Xeon processors. Almost...
Posted on Reply
#14
Supercrit
Prima.Vera, post: 3915855, member: 98685"
Aye. The MicroSD/SD Card classes naming conventions should be next on the list. They are not retarded, but utterly garbage and stupidly confusing. Almost as the naming schemes for Intel's Xeon processors. Almost...
Most stupidly confusing processor names I know are Mediatek's, it seems that they literally want to make it cryptic.
Posted on Reply
#15
Valantar
This would be great if it weren't for the mess that is ac wave 2. According to this, then, any "Wifi 5" device might either have or not have MU-MIMO and similar crucial features. IMO, ac should be 5, ac wave 2 should be 6, and ax 7.
Posted on Reply
#16
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Easy Rhino, post: 3915622, member: 32506"
Ha well the joke is that they are really bad at coming up with end user friendly names.
Also user designs and interfaces. Look at the old Qtek Windoes Mobile phones for some really good examples of what happens when engineers are allowed to design things without supervision.

I should note I really liked those phones.
Posted on Reply
#17
stimpy88
Bravo! Now I would love to see those new descriptive glyphs in use across Windows and iOS devices!
Posted on Reply
#18
Vayra86
windwhirl, post: 3915542, member: 175818"
So, they took like nearly 25 years to give it a consumer-friendly name... Oh, well. At least they didn't release one standard after the other, so not much harm done, if at all.
And even after all that time they managed to put a five off-center

Posted on Reply
#19
Valantar
Vayra86, post: 3916084, member: 152404"
And even after all that time they managed to put a five off-center


I noticed that too. Even seeing how these are UI mockups likely never to be used anywhere, that's still ... pretty weak.

Edit: anywhere except cheapo smartphones, I suppose. Lord knows they crib UI elements from wherever they can be found.
Posted on Reply
#20
JalleR
hmmm sooooo Wifi 4 is 802.11n on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz ? :)
Posted on Reply
#21
coonbro
Vayra86, post: 3916084, member: 152404"
And even after all that time they managed to put a five off-center


well maybe its a 5 , but leans towards 6 speed more then 4 speeds ? [its like 5.5 ] ..lol...
Posted on Reply
#22
Fx
This is a decent attempt to simplify the identification of wifi speed and connection quality for end users but only makes wifi attributes more ambiguous to those that deploy, configure and troubleshoot wireless networks. There is too many technologies at play to simply slap a number on them.
Posted on Reply
#23
Valantar
JalleR, post: 3916149, member: 50355"
hmmm sooooo Wifi 4 is 802.11n on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz ? :)
A) n is so old at this point that nobody really cares (or ought to care, at least).
B) have any but the very cheapest n routers been single-band?
C) does it matter, when anyone technical enough to know that there are different frequency bands will know to look beyond these labels?
Posted on Reply
#24
HammerOn1024
And another industry succumbs to the nit-wit culture. Sigh.
Posted on Reply
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