Story image

Wi-Fi is getting a new name and numbering system

05 Oct 18

Fun Friday fact: What is the name of the technology behind Wi-Fi that most of us use on a daily basis? 802.11ac may not be the first jumble of letters and numbers that come to mind – but soon you’ll able to call it Wi-Fi 5 in cases where you need the specifics.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is the global network alliance responsible for Wi-Fi technology, and they’re giving it a new name and a new numbering system.

New and future Wi-Fi technology will be called Wi-Fi 6 and will be given to all products and networks that support the next generation of products that use 802.11ax technology.

“Beginning with Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs based on major IEEE 802.11 releases will use a generational Wi-Fi name; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 certification is coming in 2019.”

 So:

•    Wi-Fi 6 is the name for devices that support 802.11ax technology

•    Wi-Fi 5 is the name for devices that support 802.11ac technology (what most of us currently use)

•    Wi-Fi 4 is the name for devices that support 802.11n technology

What’s more, device vendors will be able to signal which version of Wi-Fi tech their devices use through these symbols:


The Wi-Fi Alliance says it has made the changes so that people can understand what Wi-Fi technology their device supports, and when they’re connecting to older Wi-Fi technology.

Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Fugueroa says that people have had to rely on technical naming conventions for too long – almost 20 years, in fact.

 “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 tech industry is welcoming the new naming practices – companies including Intel, Arubaa, NETGEAR, Broadcom, Boingo Wireless, Qualcomm and Ruckus Networks have all issued statements in support of the announcement.

Here are a few of their statements:

“Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is a major advancement that keeps Wi-Fi as the technology of choice for local wireless connectivity for consumers and enterprises. Intel will deliver Wi-Fi 6 solutions for both clients and home infrastructure as part of our continued commitment to improve connectivity and security for the best possible user experiences.” – Intel Corp general manager of Wireless Solutions, Client Computing Group, Eric McLaughlin

“NETGEAR welcomes an easy way to highlight for customers what level of Wi-Fi technology they are using. We believe this will help customers better understand and appreciate the generational differences in Wi-Fi technology and usher in the latest 802.11ax standard.” – NETGEAR senior vice president of Connected Home Products, David Henry

“As one of the first Wi-Fi Alliance members, Ruckus Networks supports the new Wi-Fi Alliance naming scheme. This campaign will help the networking ecosystem better identify the different generations of Wi-Fi technologies in future releases.” – Ruckus Networks vice president of Wireless Products, Greg Beach

“Consumers love Wi-Fi – nearly every Internet connected device has it and over 80% of all wireless traffic goes over it. The sixth generation of Wi-Fi - 802.11ax - is the most advanced ever, bringing faster speeds, greater capacity and coverage, and will make the user experience even more enjoyable.  This simple, generational representation will let consumers differentiate phones and wireless routers based on their Wi-Fi capabilities, helping them pick the device that suits their needs best. When they see that their device contains Wi-Fi 6, they will know that they have the best wireless connectivity on the market.” –  Broadcom senior director of marketing for Wireless Communications and Connectivity, Vijay Nagarajan.

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."