The company says that the new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence, which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi. The generation names can be used by product vendors to identify the latest Wi-Fi technology a device supports, by OS vendors to identify the generation of Wi-Fi connection between a device and network, and by service providers to identify the capabilities of a Wi-Fi network to their customers.
Goals of Generational Wi-Fi:
- Increase end user recognition of Wi-Fi technology advancements.
- Differentiate and easily identify Wi-Fi technology contained in devices and network connections.
- Increase user adoption of newer Wi-Fi technologies that deliver a better experience.
Key benefits of Wi-Fi 6 technology include:
- Higher data rates.
- Increased capacity.
- Good performance in dense environments.
- Improved power efficiency.
New capabilities of Wi-Fi 6:
- Uplink and downlink orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) increases efficiency and lowers latency for high demand environments.
- 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM) enables peak gigabit speeds for emerging, bandwidth-intensive use cases.
- Improved medium access control (MAC) control signaling increases throughput and capacity while reducing latency.
- Increased symbol durations make outdoor network operations more robust.
Identifying network connections
Wi-Fi devices may also use a user interface (UI) icon on the display to identify the generation of a network connection. The icons will display a Wi-Fi signal indicator and a numerical representation of the connection. Icons will adjust as users move between Wi-Fi networks that provide a different user experience. When a user device displays a signal indicator icon accompanied by the number 6, indicating a Wi-Fi 6 connection, that device is utilizing the most advanced version of Wi-Fi available.
The Wi-Fi Alliance said Wi-Fi 6 certification is coming in 2019. The new standard will operate in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums and is expected to achieve a 4x increase in user throughput thanks to improved efficiency.