new devices support certification tech
Faster Wi-Fi officially launches todayThe next generation of Wi-Fi has been trickling out over the past year, butthis week, its launch is going to accelerate. The Wi-Fi Alliance, theorganization that oversees implementation of the Wi-Fi standard, is launchingits official Wi-Fi 6 certification program. That might sound boring, but itmeans the Wi-Fi 6 standard is truly ready to go, and tech companies will soonbe able to advertise their products — mostly brand new ones — as certified toproperly support Wi-Fi 6.Wi-Fi 6 includes a bunch of new technologies that combine together to make Wi-Fi more efficient. This is particularly important because of just how manydevices we all have these days — it’s not unusual for a family to have a dozenor more gadgets all connected to a Wi-Fi network at once. “The home scenariotoday looks like the dense deployment of yesterday,” says Kevin Robinson,marketing leader for the Wi-Fi Alliance.So the point of Wi-Fi 6 is to boost speeds within a crowded network. Thetheoretical maximum speed for Wi-Fi is increasing, too — to 9.6 Gbps from 3.5Gbps — but those numbers don’t really matter since you’ll never get them athome. What matters is that Wi-Fi 6 has a bunch of tools allowing it to operatefaster and deliver more data at once, so the speeds you actually get will behigher than before. Those gains will be most noticeable on crowded networks,where the efficiency improvements will make up for the higher Wi-Fi demands.(Wi-Fi 6 also mandates a major security improvement.)Really, though, today’s launch is largely a formality. The Wi-Fi certificationprogram — while important, and very much marking the beginning of the Wi-Fi 6era — isn’t required, and companies have been rolling out Wi-Fi 6 devices formonths that likely work just fine. But the Wi-Fi Alliance is made up ofmembers of the tech industry big and small, and its actions represent whatwireless features and technologies they’re interested in delivering, so thisis a clear sign that Wi-Fi 6 has arrived.All that said, this week’s biggest news for Wi-Fi 6 has no immediateconnection to the Alliance: it’s that the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro go on sale, andboth support Wi-Fi 6. That’s going to quickly put millions of Wi-Fi 6 devicesinto people’s hands, meaning adoption of the new tech will very suddenly bewell underway.Publicly, at least, Apple hasn’t certified any of its devices with theAlliance for years (though it remains a member), but it’s hard to imagine thephones won’t work just fine. The Alliance says Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 willbe the first smartphone certified for the new standard. Other older productscan receive certification if they apply for it and meet the requirements. Butbecause Wi-Fi 6 requires new hardware, most products currently on the marketwon’t be able to be updated to support it. Instead, expect new gadgets you buyfrom here out to be increasingly likely to support it.