Do you have the latest version of Wi-Fi?

Have you ever been asked which version of wi-fi you have? 802.11 what is that? A,B,G, N, AC? Huh!? As far as many people are concerned this is just a bunch of technobabble mumbo jumbo akin to all of the made up tech in Star Trek. It is important to know. What devices work with which ones and how much speed and connectivity do you get is important obviously. For many they have wondered why not just use version numbers the same way every other piece of tech does? Wonder no more.

Wi-Fi versions

It was announced in October that wi-fi standards are going to begin using version numbers starting in 2019 or at least the Wi-Fi Alliance hopes so. It is intended to take a lot of the confusion out of wireless compatibility. If you have a Wi-Fi 5 system devices will be labeled as being Wi-Fi 5 compatible and so on. It makes it much easier for the consumer and takes much of this away from the realm of the uber-nerd and it will be clearly labeled on all packaging.

Wi-Fi version 5 will be the latest standard. The first (B) was introduced in 1999 with A shortly thereafter. One has to wonder if the confusion began there and since G was next in 2003 followed by N in 2009 that certainly did not help any. What happened to C or D in there? AC is the current version, being introduced in 2014. A,B and G are for the most part no longer in use but the next version, which would have been labeled AX is on the horizon. Instead it will be labeled as Wi-Fi 6.

Difference in Wi-Fi versions

Wi-fi versions are important. They tell you how much speed they are capable of providing, what kind of range the wireless device has and how many other devices are capable of being connected among other things. Each operates on a different wireless band. With the alphabet soup that existed it was hard to keep track of what device you had and what your devices are compatible with. Now it will be much clearer (we all hope).

When the 802.11b standards were implemented with a max of 11 mbps though it could be as little as 1 mbps. It operated on the 2.4 ghz frequency which was also the same channel used by cordless phones, microwaves and baby monitors which led to connectivity issues. Wireless in 1999 offered freedom from the cord and most users muddled through. 802.11ac is capable of one gigabyte throughput speeds (though getting it is not actually going to happen) and can support many more connected devices, 8 of them. It operates on the 5 ghz frequency which produces much less interference and allows for higher speeds.

Long time coming

The Wi-Fi Alliance represents all of the major wi-fi companies so it is expected that these guidelines will be followed through on. Netgear has already acknowledged that they will implement this. There may still be some confusion as some new devices may be labeled as AX compatible rather than Wi-Fi 6 (or it could be labeled as both which could increase confusion). Just keep this in mind the next time you go shopping for technology. You may not see it this holiday season but you probably will for 2019.

Nicely Done Sites works hard to try to make your technological needs much simpler and for nearly everyone this will make things much simpler. Wireless connections are the norm now and this is certainly a long time in coming. Just remember, keep your network locked. That bit has not changed.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top