Wi-Fi 6 is the next big upgrade to wireless networks

Asus router
Asus router (Image credit: Windows Central)

Wi-Fi is something we all use each and every day, but with crazy names such as 802.11n and 802.11ac, it can be difficult to remember which standard is better than another. When the next generation of Wi-Fi arrives (802.11ax), it'll go by a much simpler name — Wi-Fi 6.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced this change on Wednesday, October 3, saying:

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. 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.

Looking back at older generations of Wi-Fi, their new naming goes as follows:

  • 802.11b is now Wi-Fi 1
  • 802.11a is now Wi-Fi 2
  • 802.11g is now Wi-Fi 3
  • 802.11n is now Wi-Fi 4
  • 802.11ac is now Wi-Fi 5

The first Wi-Fi 6 devices are expected to arrive at some point next year and offer increased speed and better handling of multiple connections at once compared to Wi-Fi 5.

What do you think of the new naming scheme?

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Joe Maring
  • It's good.
  • WiFi 6 - 802.11AD
  • Article says it is going to be 802.11AX
  • Yea it seems like they skipped ad for some reason
  • they skipped many letters lol...
  • All those folks testing for certification get an acronym to learn to remember the order: BAGNACAX
  • Nice change.
  • Much better for the average joe, personally I'll just stick to 802.11ax as it makes spec research much easier as it's very specific. WiFi 5 for example is too generic and yields far too many irrelevant search results.
  • Not everything needs to be simplified.