Wi-Fi Alliance moves to version numbers, recommends new visual UI indicators | iLounge News

News

Wi-Fi Alliance moves to version numbers, recommends new visual UI indicators

Photo: Shaunleeyh / Wikipedia

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that it is simplifying the naming conventions for Wi-Fi standards with the introduction of “Wi-Fi 6,” a new designation for the protocol otherwise known as 801.11ax. With the new standard comes a generational renaming of other recent Wi-Fi standards to provide more clarity on where they fit into the spectrum — 802.11n will become “Wi-Fi 4” and 802.11ac will henceforth be known as “Wi-Fi 5.” While one could assume that this would mean that older 802.11b and 802.11g technologies also get similar designations, such as “Wi-Fi 1” for the original 802.11b standard, the Wi-Fi Alliance’s announcement and corresponding Generational Wi-Fi User Guide provide no references to any standards older than Wi-Fi 4, so it appears the Alliance will simply be ignoring the prior standards, which makes some sense considering the majority of modern consumer devices provide at least Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) support.

Perhaps more interesting is that the Wi-Fi Alliance is now promoting the use of the new numbers as part of UI visuals that will allow users to know what type of Wi-Fi their connection is using, in the same manner that cellular carriers use EDGE, 3G, and LTE markers to indicate cellular network performance. As the Wi-Fi Alliance explains in its Generational Wi-Fi User Guide,

The experience a user perceives with Wi-Fi is often dominated by the speed and latency of the connection a device is making to a network. Consumers mistakenly equate the expected quality of their Wi-Fi experience with a displayed Wi-Fi signal strength indicator. In their minds, stronger signal should equate to a better user experience. To change that perception and map user experience to Wi-Fi generations, Wi-Fi Alliance introduces new User Interface (UI) visuals to identify Wi-Fi generations for network connections.

The UI visuals will provide a number as part of a dynamic Wi-Fi indicator that will allow the user to know at a glance whether they are connected to an 802.11n (4), 802.11ac (5), or 802.11ax (6) network. The symbol is expected to be able to dynamically change as a user moves between different Wi-Fi networks, in much the same way as the signal strength indicator changes as signal varies. The document also notes that the Wi-Fi certification programs for the older standards will remain the same (e.g. “Wi-Fi Certified ac”) while devices using the 802.11ax standard and beyond will use newer numerical designations, such as “Wi-Fi Certified 6.”

Comments

Related Stories

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

/* * * APPLE AFFILIATE LINK MAKER * * */