Small Wifi Logo

Yes, wifi, also know as WLAN has numbers now, just like all the other software and hardware technologies available on the market.

Numbering wifi releases in a simple sequential order does make sense. After all, wifi plays a considerable role in our households and offices now, which means that using a numbering system is an efficient way of knowing what you are getting, and an easier way of asking for better.

Before numbers, we identified wifi grades using a system of letters and pairs of letters. These letters in the WLAN naming convention confused even the best of us. Below you can see the wireless standard in a list:

  • 1: 802.11b (1999)
  • 2: 802.11a (1999)
  • 3: 802.11g (2003)
  • 4: 802.11n (2009)
  • 5: 802.11ac (2014)
  • 6: 802.11ax (2019)

Back in 1999, we experienced our first wireless network – wifi 1, which at the time was called 802.11b. Wifi 2 released later that same year was always known as 802.11a. Later releases all followed suit, as 2003 saw the rise of 802.11g. Later in 2009 saw the release of 802.11n and so on.

Now, instead of relying on ‘’n’’ or ‘’802.11ac’’ and ‘’Who knows?!?’’. To recognise the quality of your wifi and the year of its release – we now have a simplified 1, 2, 3, 4 system. Using the numerical method is so everyone can clearly understand that the larger the number, the better the wifi. It’s working well so far for phones and tablets, so why not wifi?

The wifi Alliance

The wifi Alliance (The people who make, create, and maintain our WLAN systems) want to see its brand go further than hardware. They plan to number all active WLAN systems so no matter where you connect, your device will promptly show the number of your wireless connection. The numeric value will help you better to understand its speed and the strength of the association. The number in the wifi name is a welcome change for the newly anticipated release of wifi 6. Old WLAN systems are also being moved over to this new method of categorisation despite most of them now being obsolete. However, this is useful in case you need to refer back to a version or reference an understanding if the need arises.

Since the wifi Alliance has an absolute monopoly on WLAN technology. We are providing wifi-enabled software for just about every TV, phone, tablet and console on the market. We assume that the major suppliers and manufacturers of our devices will fall in line with the introduction of WLAN branding.

Find out more about this organisation

In Summary

Overall, we think that this is a good idea, the complicated series of numbers and letters were difficult to remember and confusing for most people. As generations move forward and technology moves faster, we can expect to see frequent upgrades and new releases of WLAN services. Using simple numbers will help us stay on the same page when it comes to communicating about wifi. Numbers are intuitive and easily understood. Switching branding now is the best option, as the catalogue of wlan brands gets larger, rebranding in the future would be messy. Thanks to the wifi Alliance, we’re all finally up to speed.

The next WLAN service to be released will be wifi 6e – So are we going back the letters again???

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