Wi-Fi Alliance thinks "802.11ac" is too confusing for the public, will now rebrand it as "Wi-Fi 5"
In an attempt to streamline technobabble for the masses, the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that the next generation of Wi-Fi technology based on the 802.11ax protocol will be known as "Wi-Fi 6". Thus, future wireless devices like laptops, smartphones, or routers supporting 802.11ax will have "Wi-Fi 6" listed in their specifications in lieu of "802.11ax".
The 802.11ax standard will succeed 802.11ac and 802.11n or "Wi-Fi 5" and "Wi-Fi 4", respectively. According to the press release, the "easy-to-understand designation" will help in "educating our customers about the next-generation of Wi-Fi services and capabilities."
The new naming convention will be utilized by major OEMs beginning in 2019. As a result, we wouldn't be surprised to see new gadgetry boasting "Wi-Fi 6" at CES 2019 in order to normalize and cement the moniker to public eyes.
Although we're not fans of introducing buzzwords for the sake of marketing, the original "802.11" name was simply referring to an IEEE protocol that was likely never intended for marketing purposes when it was conceived. A layman comparing the specifications between two devices can immediately understand that "Wi-Fi 6" would be more advanced than "Wi-Fi 5" as opposed to 802.11ax vs. 802.11ac.