What are Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6? The new names for the latest Wi-Fi standards

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(Pocket-lint) - We've travel a agelong mode from the aboriginal wireless routers we saw astir 20 years ago. Wi-Fi has gone from being precocious exertion to a commodity that's astir everywhere.

We're present seeing a caller procreation of Wi-Fi devices launched. The antithetic flavours of Wi-Fi person agelong had analyzable names but, successful an effort to region confusion, the Wi-Fi Alliance has renamed the current, past and next-generation versions of Wi-Fi. 

We'll explicate what’s happening and wherefore it'll beryllium important for aboriginal wireless devices you'll person successful your home. 

Why we've got caller names for Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi standards you usage successful your location person been renamed and, arsenic we mentioned, there’s a caller sanction for the astir caller Wi-Fi modular (802.11ax), which is called Wi-Fi 6.

Before now, wireless standards person been referred to a method sanction – the sanction they were primitively fixed by the IEEE, which is the organisation that defines networking standards.

Now the pursuing volition beryllium used:

  • Wi-Fi 6 means 802.11ax exertion – the caller procreation of Wi-Fi, contiguous successful galore routers you'll bargain from present on
  • Wi-Fi 5 means 802.11ac exertion – efficaciously the erstwhile generation
  • Wi-Fi 4 means 802.11n exertion – galore radical volition person networking cogwheel based connected 802.11n, but it was replaced by 802.11ac successful galore caller routers from 2013 on.

It’s worthy noting that each the wireless standards referred to present are backwards compatible. So your devices won’t abruptly halt moving erstwhile Wi-Fi 6 becomes much common.

Essentially, the names volition beryllium easier to understand. If you person a caller router from the past mates of years, chances are it volition enactment 802.11ac and older standards including 802.11n. or, successful the caller nomenclature, it volition enactment Wi-Fi 5 and 6.

There are besides caller graphics to spell with the 3 caller names:

Wi-FI Alliance

What Are Wi-fi 5 And Wi-fi 6 Why Wi-fi Is Introducing Catchy Names For Different Standards representation  2

What Wi-Fi 6 promises

Wi-Fi 6 (or 802.11ax) offers a velocity betterment of astir 30 per cent. But the changes are much wide-reaching than conscionable a header number. 

Latency is besides chopped importantly and there's a alteration to the mode this mentation of Wi-Fi handles aggregate devices. That alteration means it tin present a batch much information to each instrumentality simultaneously. 

And yes, that does mean that successful places wherever you person immense numbers of devices – similar exhibitions, property conferences, stadiums and akin – should get much robust networks successful future.

Wi-Fi 6 routers person antithetic streams of wireless connectivity, with antithetic products susceptible of dealing with assorted amounts of connected devices arsenic a effect (essentially you tin deliberation of these arsenic 'pipes' with capableness for a acceptable magnitude of data). The champion person 8 oregon 12 streams.

What Wi-Fi 6 products are available?

Wi-Fi 6 is rapidly appearing successful much and much products.  Initially, it was constricted to high-end routers from the accustomed suspects - Netgear, TP-Link, Asus and D-Link but has since expanded to galore much products. 


What Are Wi-fi 5 And Wi-fi 6 Why Wi-fi Is Introducing Catchy Names For Different Standards representation  3

Wi-Fi 6 has besides been included successful galore much caller mesh web systems. Meaning you tin not lone get faster and much reliable speeds but amended sum successful your location too. 

Confusion from older packaging whitethorn good inactive beryllium a occupation though. For example, immoderate selling materials promoting 802.11ac networking cogwheel volition surely inactive telephone it that alternatively than Wi-Fi 5, simply due to the fact that spec sheets, products and packaging are already retired determination and won't needfully beryllium updated for the caller names.

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Writing by Dan Grabham. Editing by Adrian Willings. Originally published connected 5 October 2018.

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