801.11ax or Wi-Fi 6?

For those of you confused by the current Wi-Fi standards like “801.11ac” or “a/b/g/n” the Wi-Fi Alliance has got the answer for you.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is the worldwide network of companies that help to ensure that Wi-Fi devices and networks provide users the interoperability, security, and reliability through standards.

In the past, Wi-Fi versions were a letter or pair of letters that referred to a wireless standard, as an example the current version is 802.11ac. Prior to that, we had 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11a, and 802.11b. Unless you were a tech geek these numbers and letter meant nothing to you so the Wi-Fi Alliance is changing it.

So, what Wi-Fi 6? Well that’s easy, there are five versions prior to the new standard they are going to come out with:

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (ca: 1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (ca: 1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (ca: 2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (ca: 2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (ca: 2014)

Now when you upgrade to the next version the meaning of the B/A/G/N/AC which meant nothing then and very confusing as to which is better will be replaced with a version number.

The Wi-Fi Alliance expects companies to adopt this numerical approach in place of the classic lettered versions with some new artwork and a version number.

So in the next year, you should start seeing Wi-Fi 6, which was going to be designated as 801.11ax. While this new convention may take a little bit of time to catch in the long run it should make consumers understand which is the latest.

So far Netgear will be adopting this designation and it is expected that other consumer router companies will follow along.