Latest WiFi Standards
Over time, different classifications of WiFi networks were given different naming conventions. Rather than “802.11b”, it’s just “WiFi 1.” Much like how mobile phone companies refer to 3G and 5G as different network speeds even though the term is almost always just a marketing tool. This classification is supposed to help make it easier for consumers to understand — instead of understanding a whole alphabet soup, users can just look for “WiFi 1” or “WiFi 5” as what they need.
But it’s not over yet! WiFi 6 is on the way! Officially, it’s labeled as 802.11 ax. X? Yes, X. If we go by the 1990’s standards it would stand for “eXtreme!” It is made to work in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz range, offering backwards compatibility for the 802.11a networks out there. But it also looks to move into the future by supporting 1 GHz and 7 GHz frequencies.
This will allow for multiple frequencies to transmit data at the same time, increasing the potential 3 Gbps — though as in any real-world situation, it will likely be slower, likely 600 Mbps. Still much faster than the current systems.
So when is this standard going to be released onto the world? Officially, the standard should be released in December of 2018, but as with WiFi 4 and 5, companies were releasing routers with this designation before the standard was finalized, usually calling it “801.11 ax MAX” or other designations.
If a router claims to be 802.11ax compatible — it’s not, though with firmware updates they could be in the future. But if you’re impatient, start with Aerohive or NetGear.
WiFi 6 also supports advanced encryption and authorization systems. This means that it will be easier to have devices join a public WiFi network while still keeping private information private. As more people connect in coffee shops, libraries, churches, and schools, keeping bank connections and other secure communications from prying eyes will be essential.
There are more information leaks and data being sold online, so these enhanced encryption techniques will make it safer to be out on public WiFi systems.