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Wi-Finally: Naming Convention for Wi-Fi Simplified with Upcoming Release

When it comes to naming conventions in technology, some are more confusing than others. One of the more egregious offenders in recent years has been the Wi-Fi Alliance. Recent examples of Wi-Fi generations are 802.11n and 802.11ac, which make it difficult to differentiate between the versions.

However, the alliance aims to fix that with its latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ax. The new generation will be known as “Wi-Fi 6” while 802.11ac and 802.11n will be retroactively referred to as “Wi-Fi 5” and “Wi-Fi 4”, respectively.

“For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi,” said Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. “Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection.”

As with previous generations, the new Wi-Fi 6 will bring faster data rates and better and more efficient performance as well as new capabilities:

  • Uplink and downlink orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) increases efficiency and lowers latency for high demand environments 
  • 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM) enables peak gigabit speeds for emerging, bandwidth-intensive use cases 
  • Improved medium access control (MAC) control signaling increases throughput and capacity while reducing latency 
  • Increased symbol durations make outdoor network operations more robust

According to the alliance, “Wi-Fi 6 provides the foundation for a host of existing and emerging uses from streaming ultra high-definition movies at home or on the go, to mission-critical business applications requiring high bandwidth and low latency, to staying connected and productive while traversing large, congested networks in airports and train stations.”

Check out more Wi-Fi news, tips and tricks from the Rocket Yard here.  

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