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Wi-Fi Alliance thinks "802.11ac" is too confusing for the public, will now rebrand it as "Wi-Fi 5"

Wireless 802.11ax will now be labeled as Wi-Fi 6 moving forward (Source: Wi-fi.org)
Wireless 802.11ax will now be labeled as Wi-Fi 6 moving forward (Source: Wi-fi.org)
802.11n, 802.11ac, and 80211ax will now be known as Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6, respectively. Wireless products launching in 2019 or later will use the new naming convention in their specifications list to better help customers compare and contrast wireless features.

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.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 10 > Wi-Fi Alliance thinks "802.11ac" is too confusing for the public, will now rebrand it as "Wi-Fi 5"
Allen Ngo, 2018-10- 4 (Update: 2018-10- 4)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.