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Wi-Fi Alliance dumps 802.11 naming in favour of version numbers

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(Image: Wi-Fi Alliance)

In a mysterious outbreak of common sense, the Wi-Fi Alliance has dumped the traditional 802.11 naming scheme for Wi-Fi technologies and is pushing ahead with a naming scheme based on numbers.

Under the scheme, 802.11ax becomes Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5 represents 802.11ac, and Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n.

Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueria acknowledged that it had taken almost two decades to create easier monikers for consumers to understand wireless standards.

“The new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi,” the alliance said in a blog post.

“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.”

Must read: Next-generation 802.11ax wi-fi: Dense, fast, delayed

The upcoming 802.11ax standard is expected to be 30 percent faster than 802.11ac, and is due for final approval next year.

Along with the renaming, Wi-Fi Alliance released a set of sample icons that showed how users could be notified of which standard their wireless connection is using.

Last month, Korea’s SK Telecom launched a Wi-Fi service based on Wi-Fi 6 and claimed speeds of up to 4.8Gbps were possible. However, flagship handsets with Wi-Fi 6 functionality are yet to be launched.

SK Telecom uses four antennas, spectrum bandwidth of 160MHz across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands for its Wi-Fi.

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