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Wi-Fi Now Has Version Numbers, and Wi-Fi 6 Comes Out Next Year

From Jacob Kastrenakes at The Verge:

In the past, Wi-Fi versions were identified by a letter or a pair of letters that referred to a wireless standard. The current version is 802.11ac, but before that, we had 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11a, and 802.11b. It was not comprehensible, so the Wi-Fi Alliance — the group that stewards the implementation of Wi-Fi — is changing it.

All of those convoluted codenames are being changed. So instead of the current Wi-Fi being called 802.11ac, it’ll be called Wi-Fi 5 (because it’s the fifth version). It’ll probably make more sense this way, starting with the first version of Wi-Fi, 802.11b:

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

The next version, efficiently dubbed Wi-Fi 6, represents the new 802.11ax standard. For the average consumer, this means very little. I imagine some were able to glean improvement just by the increasing letters (and quantity of letters) but most didn’t care. Now, it’s obvious, version 6 is better than version 5 which is better than version 4, etc. 

This new descriptive system is likely to make its way to just about everything that has Wi-Fi capability with the caveat that not all companies will adopt it at the same time. It is a no-brainer and definitely a welcome improvement. 

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A Seattle native, Johnathan has spent minutes scouring the globe for the best coffee, jerky, cheeseburgers, and whiskey. He's also writing about technology and often failing at being funny on Twitter.

Johnathan Lyman
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United States
 
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