Wi-Fi version numbers are about to get significantly clearer
Published : Friday, 05 October, 2018Wi-Fi is about to start making a whole lot of sense. Or more sense, at least for the average consumer who probably couldn’t make out the difference between the many Wi-Fi versions offered by various devices and networks. It took quite some time for the Wi-Fi Alliance to have this realization and implement solution that would make it easier for most users. Here is the big news: Wi-Fi generations are now designated by version numbers.
The previous versions will all be renamed as well, to make understanding their hierarchy much easier. Wi-Fi 4 is the ex-802.11n, Wi-Fi 5 is the former 802.11ac, while the soon-to-be-revealed Wi-Fi 6 version has the designation of 802.11ax.
Yes, there were indeed versions 1, 2 and 3, but these are no longer in common use, so you’re unlikely to encounter them. Just in case, let’s still list them: Wi-Fi 1 is 802.11b, Wi-Fi 2 is 802.11a (for some reason this and the previous ones are in reverse order, but that no longer matters.), and Wi-Fi 3 is 802.11g.
So here we are, with an orderly system that makes everything immediately visible. Wi-Fi 6 apparently is more advanced and preferable to 5, and there’s no need to remember what ac, n, or ax are. This will not at once necessarily make life easy for the consumer, since the total band speed on the box is still a useless number unrelated to actual speed.
Chances are, we’ll soon see the branding numbers within software user interfaces as well, so that your device will at some time in the near future start displaying the Wi-Fi version of any available or connected network, so that you can always make an informed choice about network performance and your connection.