Wi-Fi Alliance Introduces Wi-Fi 6 - Based on 802.11ax Technology

The Wi-Fi Alliance has introduced Wi-Fi 6 as the industry designation for products and networks that support the next generation of Wi-Fi, based on 802.11ax technology. Wi-Fi 6 is part of a new naming approach by Wi-Fi Alliance that provides users with an easy-to-understand designation for both the Wi-Fi technology supported by their device and used in a connection the device makes with a Wi-Fi network.

The new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi. The generation names can be used by product vendors to identify the latest Wi-Fi technology a device supports, by OS vendors to identify the generation of Wi-Fi connection between a device and network, and by service providers to identify the capabilities of a Wi-Fi network to their customers. The generational terminology may also be used to designate previous Wi-Fi generations, such as 802.11n or 802.11ac. The numerical sequence includes:

  • 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

Each generation of Wi-Fi offers new features – faster speeds, increased throughput, and better experiences. Industry adoption of the new terminology will help users better understand the experience they can expect. Wi-Fi 6 will deliver an improved experience to address device and application needs in a range of consumer and enterprise environments. The generational terminology is expected to be widely adopted by the Wi-Fi ecosystem.

In addition to describing the capabilities of the device, device manufacturers or OS vendors can incorporate the generational terminology in User Interface (UI) visuals to indicate the current type of Wi-Fi connection. The UI visual will adjust as a device moves between Wi-Fi networks so users have real-time awareness of their device connection. Beginning with Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Alliance has announced an upcoming certification program, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, to ensure Wi-Fi 6 devices meet expectations for quality and interoperability. Expected in 2019, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 program continues the 20-year tradition of Wi-Fi Alliance standards-based testing.