Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)

Wi-Fi is a series of wireless networking standard published by the IEEE. The initial publication was in 1997 with 802.11 and new revisions have been published over the decades. The initial releases offered convenient wireless connectivity, but at slower rates than legacy Ethernet connections.

By the time 802.11n was published, Wi-Fi had become the ubiquitous means by which most users connect to the Internet. Work continued on the Wi-Fi series of standards, with a summary of those standards shown in the following table. Due to the confusion caused by the names of the standards among normal users, the Wi-Fi Alliance introduced "generation" names to make it easier for consumers to understand.

Wi-Fi stands for "Wireless Fidelity".

Generation Year Standard Data Rates Frequency
Wi-Fi 0 1997 802.11 2 Mbps 2.4 GHz
Wi-Fi 1 1999 802.11a 54 Mbps 5 GHz
Wi-Fi 2 1999 802.11b 11 Mbps 2.4 GHz
Wi-Fi 3 2003 802.11g 54 Mbps 2.4 GHz
Wi-Fi 4 2008 802.11n 600 Mbps 2.4 GHz
Wi-Fi 5 2014 802.11ac 433Mbps - 6.9 Gbps 5 GHz
Wi-Fi 6 2019 802.11ax 574Mbps - 9.6 Gbps 2.4/5/6 GHz
Wi-Fi 7 2024 802.11be 1.37Gbps - 46 Gbps 2.4/5/6 GHz
Wi-Fi 8 2028 (planned) 802.11bn 100 Gbps 2.4/5/6/7/42.5/71 GHz

Resources: Wi-Fi Alliance

See Also: Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)