This might be something you didn’t even know was happening, but WiFi has been evolving ever since it hit the market, and frequently this evolution flies a bit under the radar. Why? Most of the time because the things that are changing are so technical that to the average consumer it really doesn’t mean all that much. As new devices come out and old devices are recycled, these consumers are just updating their WiFi without even knowing that they are switching… and frankly noticing much of a difference.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine where the benefits of the new WiFi start and where they end, because the devices producing and receiving it at also updated at the same speeds and thus the changes are more complicated than just… this WiFi is better than that WiFi.
In order to understand what has changed, you have to understand where it started.
WiFi functions on a very specific set of predetermined and agreed upon universal standards. These standards essentially function as a sort of language that computers speak to each other. For years, this protocol was name 802.11 with a series of letters afterwards like n, c, af. These were different formats of WiFi protocols that evolved over the course of time. As they evolved they needed more advanced routers to run them correctly, and thus started the hand-in-hand evolution of WiFi.
Just this past year, these protocols which were previously named variations of 802.11 have been converted to more simplified version numbers. We are all currently running some version of WiFi 5 which was previously called 802.11ac. You are most likely not going to hear about WiFi 5 that much because WiFi 6 is ready to hit the market, so WiFi 5 will essentially have been named as such, right before it goes out of style.
When WiFi 6 routers become available, devices will start to update their protocols and begin to function with the new features of WiFi 6. Of course some devices simply won’t have the right parameters to be able to accept or work with WiFi 6, and those devices will slowly be phased out as you update the technology in your life. Thus is the evolution of WiFi in the consumer market.
Corporations will most likely be the first to jump on this technology as both WiFi and the internet as a whole is critical to the operation of almost every large scale business in 2019. Corporations will be able to afford the hardware upgrades at a quicker rate, and harness the full potential of the new WiFi features which include, more efficient multi-device connections, faster speeds, and a special ability to determine what connection does and doesn’t need internet at the time.
Soon even mobile hotspot companies (Skyroam, Keepgo, Roaming Man) will begin to adopt the new WiFi 6 due to its energy saving capabilities, thus allowing more battery power out of your hotspot and your laptop.
All of this evolution is very exciting, and there’s no telling how WiFi will change next, but at least now you have a greater understanding of how WiFi grows and changes as we evolve technologically.