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In the constantly changing world of internet technology, one category that seems to confuse most is Wi-Fi. 2.4ghz, 5gz, 802.11, HZ bands.... there are enough terms to confuse even the more tech-savvy individuals some days.
So, before we talk about the new upcoming Wi-Fi 6 let us do a quick review of the history of Wi-Fi types and how they have developed over the years.
List of Wi-Fi Versions to Date
|Wi-Fi 1 - 802.11b
|Wi-Fi 2 - 802.11a
|Wi-Fi 3 - 802.11g
|Wi-Fi 4 - 802.11n
|Wi-Fi 5 - 802.11ac
|Wi-Fi 6 - 802.11ax
Although wireless technology has been around for quite a long time, it was not truly adopted until the year 1999 when the "Wi-Fi alliance" was created. This group was committed to creating universal and compatible Wi-Fi technology so that all major manufacturers and networks could provide a stable connection for customers.
With the creation of this new standard of technology in 1999, manufacturers were able to create the first 802.11b (Wi-Fi 1) for sending stable Wi-Fi signals over 2.4ghz networks. For anyone confused on what the 2.4ghz means, it is the wave band on which the electronic signal travels in the air to reach the other device. Think of it as little electric waves that travel down sections of highway in the air above us. These little lanes of road, "HZ bands," are used to carry information from your devices like your phone, printer, Xbox, tablet and more.
Back in the year 1999 when the first generation of Wi-Fi was created, it offered around 11Mbs. Although that seems slow nowadays with our current massive 4k streaming that needs upwards of 400Mbs connections, 11Mbs was more than enough speed for the technology that was available at the time.
Wi-Fi received two upgrades of Wi-Fi 2 and Wi-Fi 3 which were faster speeds and stability, but it wasn't until 2008 with the release of 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) that things really changed. As technology and consumer demand for higher speeds increased, this new Wi-Fi 4 held an amazing speed, now capable of sending over 600Mbs which was an extreme jump over all the previous versions.
The next significant jump was the introduction of Wi-Fi 5 in 2014: this technology opened more bands in order to hold more traffic. These new bands in the 80-160hz range now allowed even more data to be transferred than previous versions at 1.5gGbs and above. Also, with the creation of these new higher speed bands, they were able to remove lots of wireless interference issues as most common household devices do not work on these new bands.
This now brings us to Wi-Fi 6, the big exciting next step in Wi-Fi history. As demand continues to grow year after year, we find ourselves again at the forefront of needing faster speeds for upcoming technology. With rumours of 8k and 12k movie watching on the horizon, it will only be a matter of time before Wi-Fi 5 cannot keep up anymore. Wi-Fi 6 demonstrated its ability to do data transfer of up to 9.6Gbs, which will be the next great evolutionary step in bringing higher quality content to customers. In only 20 years the new Wi-Fi 6 is now over 850% faster than the original Wi-Fi 1.
CityWest introduces the newest technology of Wi-Fi 6 on its Gigaspire technology and aims to future-proof its customers for the next generation of Wi-Fi devices that will certainly be hitting the market over the next few years. In only 20 years, Wi-Fi has significantly changed the way we all interact in our day-to-day lives, from personal use to business use. We are living in fast moving times for technology and the possibilities are truly becoming endless regarding wireless online activity, I personally am very excited to see what the future holds.