You may never have paid attention to Wi-Fi specs when buying a wireless networking product like a router. So if you’re like the many users who don’t care about the technicalities and differences between 802.11ac or a/b/g/n then rejoice, because the Wi-Fi Alliance is making it easier to understand it all. Version numbers have been introduced for Wi-Fi and the next generation of wireless networking will be called WiFi 6 and it will be out next year.
Wi-Fi versions were previously identified by letters which corresponded to a wireless standard. The current version is 802.11ac. Before this, there was 802.11n, g, a, and b. It wasn’t easy to comprehend, so the Wi-Fi Alliance is doing us all a favor and streamlining this with simple version numbers.
This will make it simple for even the most novice of users to understand that WiFi 6 is going to be better than WiFi 5, for example. A similar change has been made to the existing versions as well so 802.11n will now be called WiFi 4 while 802.11ac will be called WiFi 5.
There’s obviously no compulsion on manufacturers to use this nomenclature as the Wi-Fi Alliance can’t force them to do so but the industry as a whole will likely adopt this as it just makes things easier for everyone.