Wi-Fi Alliance, a group formed by numerous tech companies overseeing Wi-Fi’s standardization, has launched the Wi-Fi Certified 6 certification program, meaning manufacturers that meet its criterias get to put an important badge on their products’ packaging.
Wi-Fi 6, officially named as the 802.11ax standard by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is the next chapter in wireless local area networks. Compared to Wi-Fi 5 (known as the IEEE 802.11ac standard), Wi-Fi 6 has made specific amendments to extend its range, provide higher bandwidth, improve energy use, and massively increase access. Its features can be scaled for home use or congested areas like concerts and sporting events.
Although it shares many similarities to 5G, Wi-Fi 6 is strictly geared towards local area networks. In other words, 5G addresses the entire communication stack, whereas Wi-Fi only applies to the connection between the users and local access points like routers.
The new Wi-Fi Alliance certification, launched on Monday, guarantees that compliant devices meet the full IEEE 801.11ax standard out of the box. Devices without the certification may require firmware updates in order to adhere to the finalized version.
Prior to the certification, Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices were based on a draft of the IEEE 802.11ax specification.
Although the IEEE expects to release the official 802.11ax specification by the year’s end, its development has essentially concluded in late 2018. As such, vendors including Qualcomm, Intel, and Broadcomm have been releasing pre-standard Wi-Fi 6 devices for nearly a year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is the first smartphone to earn the new certification.
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