The Wi-Fi Alliance already announced Wi-Fi 6 back in October. Today, it’s announcing the details of the Wi-Fi 6 certification process, which will launch in the third quarter of 2019. Expect many new Wi-Fi 6 devices later this year.
Some manufacturers have already released routers and other devices advertising Wi-Fi 6 support, but they’re not “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6.” That certification program ensures devices are compatible and that they have specific features. The Wi-Fi Alliance told us they expect manufacturers to have those already-existing Wi-Fi 6 devices certified when the program launches.
Wi-Fi 6 includes a variety of technologies, but some are mandatory for certification. Devices must support WPA3 encryption for improved security to achieve certification. They must also support specific features, including OFDMA, MU-MIMO, beamforming, 1024-QAM, and target wake time (TMT). Together, these features provide a more efficient network with lower latency, improved speed with multiple devices, and improved battery life for those devices.
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But you don’t need to know about all those technical terms. That’s the point of the new “Wi-Fi 6” name, which is a friendlier term for 802.11ax. Up until now, Wi-Fi standards have been named things like 802.11n, 802.11g, and 802.11ac. Can you put them in the correct order? (Hint: No, it’s not alphabetical!)
The correct order for Wi-Fi standards from oldest to newest is 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax. Don’t worry if you can’t remember, though—the Wi-Fi Alliance found that only 5% of people surveyed could put these standards in the correct order.
So, forget all that stuff—just look for “Wi-Fi 6 Certified.” You don’t even need to worry about the WPA3 certification, as Wi-Fi 6 certified devices must support WPA3.
Certification may seem like a formality, but it’s a sign those devices are actually arriving. We expect to see lots of Wi-Fi 6 devices released starting in mid-2019. Many manufacturers are already showing off various Wi-Fi 6 devices this week at CES 2019, from wireless routers and mesh network solutions to PCs.
Image Credit: Jackie Niam/Shutterstock.com, Wi-Fi Alliance