The Wi-Fi Alliance already announced Wi-Fi 6 in October. Today, it publishes the details of the Wi-Fi 6 certification process, which will be launched 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 that advertise Wi-Fi 6 support, but they are not "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6." This certification program ensures that the devices are compatible and that they have special features. The Wi-Fi Alliance told us that they expect manufacturers to have the already existing Wi-Fi 6 devices certified when the program is started.
Wi-Fi 6 contains a variety of techniques, but some are mandatory for certification. Devices must support WPA3 encryption for enhanced security to achieve certification. They also need to support specific features, including OFDMA, MU-MIMO, beamforming, 1024-QAM and goalie time (TMT). Together, these features provide a more efficient, lower latency network, enhanced multi-unit speed, and improved battery life for these devices.
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But you don't need to know about all the technical terms . It is the meaning of the new "Wi-Fi 6" name, which is a friendlier term for 802.11ax. So far, Wi-Fi standards have named things like 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11ac. Can you put them in the right order? (Tip: No, it's not alphabetical!)
The right 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, but the Wi-Fi Alliance found that only 5% of those surveyed were able to put those standards in the right order.
So forget all that – just look for "Wi-Fi 6 Certified." You don't even have to worry about the WPA3 certification because Wi-Fi 6 certified devices must support WPA3.
Certification may seem like a formality, but it is a sign that those entities actually arrive. We expect to see lots of Wi-Fi 6 devices released from mid-2019. Many manufacturers already show different Wi-Fi 6 devices a week at CES 2019, from wireless routers and network solutions to computers.
Image Credit: Jackie Niam / Shutterstock.com, Wi-Fi Alliance