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Wi-Fi Switches from Obscure Protocol Names to Simple Generation Numbers

Glenn Fleishman is great at explaining Wi-Fi things, especially why we’re moving away from 802.11-prefixed indications:

The reason for switching to numbers stems from a desire for an easier way to talk about Wi-Fi across versions. I’ve been writing about Wi-Fi since 2000, and it has always been a pain to explain what the letters and numbers mean because most people don’t really need—or want—to know anything but “this works with that at the highest speed of X Mbps.”

This explanatory nightmare worsened in the early 2000s, as the Wi-Fi trademark began to incorporate many different technical standards. Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi logo gained add-ons that referred almost exclusively to standards governing spectrum usage and bandwidth rates.

Simplifying device compatibility through better naming seems like a clever idea that’s long overdue, and one that should help people who have no interest in technical standards arcana. The next time someone asks me what Wi-Fi router they should buy, I look forward to saying, “Wi-Fi 6. Look for it on the box.”

Before you know it, we’ll be having conversations starting with “what’s better about Wi-Fi 7?”

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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
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
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