Wi-Fi spec naming getting simplified with new numbering scheme

Posted:
in General Discussion
The Wi-Fi Alliance is rebranding the terms used to identify different types of Wi-Fi connection in a bid to simplify the naming system for the general public, with 802.11ac being retroactively renamed "Wi-Fi 5" and the next-generation 802.11ax technology arriving next year as the more easily understood "Wi-Fi 6."




The current naming system for network specifications, prefixed by 802.11 followed by a letter, is considered by the Wi-Fi Alliance to be difficult to determine which is the newest and what older technologies it can work with on the same network. Instead of relying on users to know which letter suffix is newer, the organization instead intends to simply number each generation of technology sequentially.

Rather than refer to 802.11ac or 802.11n, they will also be referred to as Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 henceforth, due to their respective generations, with older technologies also being referred to by their generational number. The system should also help consumers by advising of compatibility, with higher-numbered devices supporting connectivity with other hardware with lower numbers, at the older speeds.

Notably the Wi-Fi Alliance is only going as far back as Wi-Fi 4 for the naming system, with the first to third generation 802.11b, a, and g retaining their original designations.

The Wi-Fi Alliance's logos for Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6
The Wi-Fi Alliance's logos for Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6


"For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi," said alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. "Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection."

The Wi-Fi Alliance, which counts Apple as a member, intends for the new naming method to be used from the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 in 2019, formerly known as 802.11ax. The organization also intends for the introduction of new visual aids that incorporate the number, which could be used in manuals and on packaging to indicate the generational compatibility.

In June, the alliance started to certify devices for WPA3, an update to the aging WPA2 security protocol that enhances authentication and encryption measures.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,988member
    I like it. Consumers shouldn't be required to be well versed in IEEE terminology to make more informed buying decisions. There will still be ample opportunity for confusion, especially around compatibility between generations, but it is a small step in the right direction to improving human-to-human communication.
    kurairepressthisracerhomie3jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    At last. It sounded more like legal book references than simple technology generation lingo.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    It’s about time. I know this stuff, and I sometimes still have to think about it when explaining it to others. Meanwhile, they’re completely confused.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 648member
    Bout damn time...the suffixes make absolutely no sense.  WiFi v5, v6 ec... makes more sense. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Finally! Even I who knows about it can get confused sometimes. And hope no one starts with that pre-crap again, like ”ac is not official so here is a router that has almost something like maybe but not actually as good or reliable or fast as ac...”.
    llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,208member

    What was wrong with the old system? The names clearly corresponded with the IEEE codebook, which is exactly what people ..... oops. Sorry - I was using Windows for a while and my brain was a bit addled. totally agree with everyone else here - they should’ve done this years ago. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    I wonder how many hundreds of thousands they had to pay a marketing company to come up with this?
  • Reply 8 of 18
    I liked the old system it was more descriptive.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    I liked the old system it was more descriptive.
    Nobody needs descriptive.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    claire1claire1 Posts: 494unconfirmed, member
    The entire tech industry follows Apple eventually. Can't wait for Wifi X!

    hentaiboy said:
    I wonder how many hundreds of thousands they had to pay a marketing company to come up with this?

    I'm sure Apple got $0.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,617member
    Like the idea. About time even.

    those logos though.....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    mf2kmf2k Posts: 11member
    I'm outraged, OUTRAGED, about this I'll tell you. How am I supposed to sound smarter then everyone else by rattling off obscure nomenclature about WiFi and make up stuff about what people's technical issues are??? 

    "Clearly you have a problem with your 802.11ac protocol setup"

    /s  :)

    This is great and a long time coming! 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,014member
    Great . I can now say I own WiFi 4 equipment. It seems much more friendlier. A little less technical .

    A great move for the Alliance.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    melgross said:
    I liked the old system it was more descriptive.
    Nobody needs descriptive.
    How about by reading the product name alone, I know what frequencies it operates at?

    If someone says WiFi xyz I’ll need to look it up...
  • Reply 15 of 18
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 670editor
    It's still a garbage fire.

    AC1200, AC1750, AC1900, AC2600?

    It's not clear from the article how these speed designations will fit into the new naming scheme. 

    The Wi-Fi Alliance is a marketing company with no official involvement in the actual spec. Expect individual manufacturers to screw it up more, by advertising Wifi6 Turbo!!!!111 and other nonsense. 

    Also, it creates more confusion for a few years: someone's going to start running articles like, 'is Wifi 4 too risky to keep using?' and your average user will look at their router and say, 'the box says 802.11n?'
    edited October 2018 rcfawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    rcfarcfa Posts: 756member
    vmarks said:
    It's still a garbage fire.

    AC1200, AC1750, AC1900, AC2600?

    It's not clear from the article how these speed designations will fit into the new naming scheme. 

    The Wi-Fi Alliance is a marketing company with no official involvement in the actual spec. Expect individual manufacturers to screw it up more, by advertising Wifi6 Turbo!!!!111 and other nonsense. 

    Also, it creates more confusion for a few years: someone's going to start running articles like, 'is Wifi 4 too risky to keep using?' and your average user will look at their router and say, 'the box says 802.11n?'
    Yup, and where does the the number of MIMO channels fit in, where the frequencies? Encryption?

    It’s not like WiFi has clear generations.
    Within one generation you may have different encryption standards, single-band or dual band devices, MIMO with different channel counts, etc.

    It will make informed buying decisions much harder, because the actual facts are hidden.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    melgross said:
    I liked the old system it was more descriptive.
    Nobody needs descriptive.
    How about by reading the product name alone, I know what frequencies it operates at?

    If someone says WiFi xyz I’ll need to look it up...
    Who really needs to know this offhand? How many people are knowledgeable enough for it to make any sense to them? If they are, it’s easy enough to look up. Just type the name into Google, and you get all the tech info you want, and then some. Nobody else needs that info.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member

    rcfa said:
    vmarks said:
    It's still a garbage fire.

    AC1200, AC1750, AC1900, AC2600?

    It's not clear from the article how these speed designations will fit into the new naming scheme. 

    The Wi-Fi Alliance is a marketing company with no official involvement in the actual spec. Expect individual manufacturers to screw it up more, by advertising Wifi6 Turbo!!!!111 and other nonsense. 

    Also, it creates more confusion for a few years: someone's going to start running articles like, 'is Wifi 4 too risky to keep using?' and your average user will look at their router and say, 'the box says 802.11n?'
    Yup, and where does the the number of MIMO channels fit in, where the frequencies? Encryption?

    It’s not like WiFi has clear generations.
    Within one generation you may have different encryption standards, single-band or dual band devices, MIMO with different channel counts, etc.

    It will make informed buying decisions much harder, because the actual facts are hidden.
    No it won’t. Does the current naming convention make buying decisions easier? It doesn’t. It makes them more confusing.
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