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"Wi-Fi5" doesn't make the cut

The Wi-Fi Alliance scraps the Wi-Fi5 moniker it planned on giving to the 802.11a technology, in favor of calling it Wi-Fi.

The name "Wi-Fi5" has died a quiet death.

Wi-Fi5 was the moniker the Wi-Fi Alliance planned to give any wireless networking product it certified that used the 802.11a standard.

But Thursday, the alliance--an association of companies that certifies whether wireless local area networking products meet Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) standards--scrapped those plans. It instead decided to call the new products "Wi-Fi," the same name it gives certified equipment based on the 802.11b standard, said Wi-Fi Alliance President Dennis Eaton.

"A single brand name for both products will reduce confusion and help consumers with their buying decision," Eaton said.

Those who got an early glimpse of the Wi-Fi5 name on certification labels didn't get it, Eaton said. It left them wondering, "what happened to WiFi2, WiF3 and Wi-Fi4," Eaton said. But those technologies don't exist. The "5" in Wi-Fi5 referred to the 5GHz radio frequency that 802.11a uses. 802.11b equipment operates within the 2.4GHz radio frequency.

Equipment based on 802.11a and 802.11b standards creates 300-foot wireless "zones" of Internet access. The difference is their speed. 802.11a users download files at up to 54mbps (megabits per second); 802.11b users download at 11mpbs.

There are now 6 million to 8 million wireless networks in homes and offices that use the 802.11b standard.

These networks are not compatible with the wireless zones created by 802.11a standard equipment, which are now beginning to be released into the marketplace.