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802.11ax, 802.11ac, 802.11n â€” though this may sound like a bunch of gibberish, itâ€™s actually an important part of how your device connects to the internet.
The aforementioned numbers are generations of the Wi-Fi standard.
But if you donâ€™t know what they are, you can probably see how itâ€™d be hard to tell them apart.
And so the Wi-Fi Alliance, the group dedicated to overseeing these standards, is fixing that.
While the next-generation version of the Wi-Fi standard is called 802.11ax, the Wi-Fi Alliance is giving it a much easier moniker: Wi-Fi 6.
The previous generations, 802.11ac and 802.11n, will subsequently be called Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 respectively.
But rather than just being arbitrary numbers, these Wi-Fi generations actually mean faster data speeds and upgraded performance for you when youâ€™re connected to a wireless network. Itâ€™s just like the yearly release of Unicode standards for emoji, or annually upgraded LTE technology.
Wi-Fi 6 will feature faster data rates and better performance in device dense environments like concerts or sports games. And notably, itâ€™ll also sport improved energy efficiency â€” in other words, itâ€™ll save some battery life on future smartphones when browsing the internet on a Wi-Fi network.
Itâ€™ll also help foster better connections for smart home setups or Internet of Things systems â€” as well as larger deployments of smart and IoT devices for businesses and firms.
But itâ€™s the simplified naming scheme thatâ€™s likely garnering the most attention.
â€œFor nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical name conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi,â€ Wi-Fi Alliance President and CEO Edgar Figueroa said in a press release.
â€œWi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection,”Â Figueroa added.
The Wi-Fi 6 standard is currently expected to be finalized next year, so itâ€™ll be a while before it shows up in future iPhones.
If youâ€™re curious about which Wi-Fi standard your own device supports, you can check the technical specifications of various Apple devices here. The Wi-Fi generation will be listed under the Cellular and Wireless heading.