Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 Coming in 2019

By | November 5, 2018
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Cloudeight Computer Tips & TricksWi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 Coming in 2019

The Wi-Fi Alliance is getting rid of those arcane 802.11 Wi-Fi names in favor of a easier-to-understand numbering system. Currently, Wi-Fi versions have names like Wi-Fi 802.11 n or Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n. It made it difficult to tell by looking which version is newer.

Here are the Wi-Fi versions in use at this time:

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014

And coming in 2019:

Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (2019 est.)

The Wi-Fi Alliance which represents just almost every major company that makes any kind of Wi-Fi product or with “Wi-Fi” in it has now come up with new way to number Wi-Fi version to make it easier for consumers to make choices and know which version is newer. So big changes are on the way as Wi-Fi products drop the confusing 802.11 + letter designations. The old 802.11+letter designation will be replaced with names like Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and (soon to come) Wi-Fi 6.

The Wi-Fi Alliance says that it’s unlikely that the new names will be immediately universally adopted But the move will gradually be made and it will benefit both consumers and the industry.

Changing over from arcane names to names people can understand will be a big help t consumers because it will be easier for users to understand that between (for example) Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 devices, that Wi-Fi 5 is newer and therefore faster and better.

Cloudeight Computer Tips & Tricks
New Wi-Fi logos for Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6.

While you will start seeing Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see Wi-Fi 1, Wi-Fi 2 or Wi-Fi 3 devices as they are no longer generally in use. But you will begin seeing Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5 designations when the new Wi-Fi 6 devices start coming out next year.

Here’s how the new Wi-Fi versions relate to current versions”

Wi-Fi 6 will identify devices that support 802.11ax technology
Wi-Fi 5 will identify devices that support 802.11ac technology
Wi-Fi 4 will identify devices that support 802.11n technology

Wi-Fi 6 is faster and designed to accommodate a large number of connected devices as the world moves deeper into the Internet of Things. Households will have more and more connected devices in the future and Wi-Fi 6 is designed for that kind of environment as well as hotspots and public hotspots which also need to support a great many devices.

When using hotspots , users will see choices on the devices options to connect (for example) to Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6.

The Wi-Fi Alliance says…

“Wi-Fi Alliance® introduces Wi-Fi 6 as the industry designation for products and networks that support the next generation of Wi-Fi®, based on 802.11ax technology. Wi-Fi 6 is part of a new naming approach by Wi-Fi Alliance that provides users with an easy-to-understand designation for both the Wi-Fi technology supported by their device and used in a connection the device makes with a Wi-Fi network….” Read more here

But don’t get your hopes up for a quick and easy ride to Wi-Fi 6. You’ll need a new router and new devices (laptops, PCs, tablets and/or smartphones, etc.) equipped with hardware to connect to Wi-Fi 6 before you can reap the benefits of the new technology.

But don’t worry if you can’t or don’t want to upgrade your equipment right away. You’ll still be able to connect and get online, but you won’t be able to take advantage of all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 unless you’re using Wi-Fi 6 capable devices and a Wi-Fi 6 capable router.

6 thoughts on “Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 Coming in 2019

  1. Patty

    Good morning to ya. I’m kinda confused about all this WFi stuff. I didn’t realize there were all the choices out there now and soon we’ll have even more? What does all this mean for a poor ol’ gal like myself? I’m feeling really incompetent right about now. Just how does this all effect my pc and perhaps a “smart” phone, should I invest in one? Have a great day, Patty

    1. infoave Post author

      They are not adding anything, they are just making it easier to understand. Wi-Fi 4 is a lot easier to understand than 802.11 n. You will know automatically that Wi-Fi 5 is newer than Wi-Fi 4 for example. It wont’ really add anything – should be less confusing(eventually)

  2. Betty

    I have been reading about all these advancements in wi-fi tech but have not read how many more RF towers will have to be built. There is a health issue here because of the rf energy emitted by these towers. These concerns are pretty well documented. Of course the companies that are making money out of this will deny any harmful effects.
    ATT was set to install a tower in our neighborhood near schools and we fought the installation with well documented data on the health hazards. They were denied the permit.

    1. infoave Post author

      This has nothing to do with Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, or Wi-Fi 6, so not sure what you’re expecting as a reply. You live in a world of light- Radio waves, TV signals, comic rays, radar waves (microwaves), x-rays, UV and Infrared light, visible light are all different frequencies of RF – all RF waves are light. Wi-Fi 6 is not a new kind of RF signal, it’s just faster and can carry more bandwidth.

  3. Sandi

    This makes me cringe! According to your article, I’d have to replace a wifi device and four computers!!!! Not good!

    1. infoave Post author

      No you don’t have to buy new equipment. Current wi-fi is not going away. It will be years before Wi-Fi 6 is widely implemented. Your current devices will continue to work as they do now.


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