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Johnathan.org • A technology blog produced by Johnathan Lyman covering a variety of tutorials, thoughts, and commentary on all of the technology around us.

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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