In an effort to avoid confusion, the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that Wi-Fi standards will be renamed. The Wi-Fi Alliance is a non-profit organization the ensures that Wi-Fi devices conform to certain standards and that devices from different manufacturers can be used with each other. For example, your Dell laptop works with your Linksys router and that USB Wi-Fi antenna from a third party would also be able to communicate with both devices.
In the past, Wi-Fi has been identified by the following designations:
Now, with the upcoming debut of 802.11ax, Wi-Fi will be identified as follows:
Wi-Fi 6 – devices that support 802.11ax technology
Wi-Fi 5 -devices that support 802.11ac technology
Wi-Fi 4 devices that support 802.11n technology
This is similar to the way mobile communications are labeled 3G, 4G, and 5G. Users will be able to know at a glance which is the latest technology. In this case, Wi-Fi 6 will be the latest and fastest technology when it debuts next year. Wi-Fi 6 has the potential to be 40% faster than Wi-Fi 5 and will support streaming 8K video.
If you’re buying a wireless device now, Wi-Fi 5 or ac tech is the latest technology available. Starting next year, look for Wi-Fi 6.