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Wi-Fi Alliance dumps 802.11 naming in favour of version numbers

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(Image: Wi-Fi Alliance)

In a mysterious outbreak of common sense, the Wi-Fi Alliance has dumped the traditional 802.11 naming scheme for Wi-Fi technologies and is pushing ahead with a naming scheme based on numbers.

Under the scheme, 802.11ax becomes Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5 represents 802.11ac, and Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n.

Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueria acknowledged that it had taken almost two decades to create easier monikers for consumers to understand wireless standards.

“The new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi,” the alliance said in a blog post.

“The generation names can be used by product vendors to identify the latest Wi-Fi technology a device supports, by OS vendors to identify the generation of Wi-Fi connection between a device and network, and by service providers to identify the capabilities of a Wi-Fi network to their customers.”

Must read: Next-generation 802.11ax wi-fi: Dense, fast, delayed

The upcoming 802.11ax standard is expected to be 30 percent faster than 802.11ac, and is due for final approval next year.

Along with the renaming, Wi-Fi Alliance released a set of sample icons that showed how users could be notified of which standard their wireless connection is using.

Last month, Korea’s SK Telecom launched a Wi-Fi service based on Wi-Fi 6 and claimed speeds of up to 4.8Gbps were possible. However, flagship handsets with Wi-Fi 6 functionality are yet to be launched.

SK Telecom uses four antennas, spectrum bandwidth of 160MHz across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands for its Wi-Fi.

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The Hyundai Ioniq 5’s cleverest trick happens when the EV is standing still

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The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq 5 may be the automaker’s most dramatic – and appealing – production EV so far, but it’s the technology the automaker is pushing for when the electric hatchback is standing still that gives a taste of what’s to come. Announced earlier this week, the Ioniq 5 adopts a distinctly retro-futuristic aesthetic with its sharp creases and segmented LED lights.

At the front, the squared-off headlamps squint out from under a frowning hood edge. EVs often do away with a traditional grille – since the cooling needs are in different areas to those of internal combustion vehicles – but Hyundai has still applied one for design reasons, and with great result.

Cleanly fared-in bumpers and that sharp Z-shaped zigzag side crease lead around to a tapering hatchback rear. There, the rectangular light graphic makes another appearance, but without looking like there’s been a compromise in practicality with the tailgate opening. Factor in wheels that luxe sibling Genesis could be proud of, and you have a real looker of an EV.

According to Hyundai, we can expect a 72.6 kWh battery and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive for the US-spec Ioniq 5. 350 kW DC fast charging means a 5-percent to 80-percent top-up in under 20 minutes, assuming you can find a sufficiently-speedy charger. In the AWD version, with 302 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, figure on 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

The general response to how the Ioniq 5 looks and its performance numbers have been positive, but Hyundai is pushing the functionality you use when it’s standing still just as aggressively. V2L – or Vehicle to Load – basically allows you to use the Ioniq 5 as a huge mobile battery pack. Think along the lines of a Tesla Powerwall on wheels.

There are two power outlets in the Ioniq 5. One is in the rear, under the second-row seats; it’s active whenever the EV is switched on. A second is located alongside the charging port on the outside, and it’s capable of supply power even if the car is off. A converter, Hyundai says, can be used for running high-power electronic equipment off that port.

Relying on an EV as a mobile source of power isn’t new. We’ve already seen experiments with V2G – Vehicle to Grid – where electric cars act as temporary storage for times of low-cost excess power in the grid, and then feed it back when rates would typically be higher. The Plug & Charge standard beginning to get more commonplace among EV chargers also includes bidirectional charging elements alongside its zero-login session management.

Still, it’s not exactly a well-known feature at present, though that could change in the near future. The outages in Texas already this year, along with sky-rocketing costs as gas and electricity demand surged far beyond predicted levels, have demonstrated just what an impact climate change could have on utilities. Even if the grid is up to the task, natural perils like forest fires can still force a switch-off, as California has discovered over several seasons.

Home backup generators, which typically run on natural gas, are available but can be expensive, both to install and – depending on prices when you need that power – to run. Meanwhile home batteries, like those from Tesla and others, are increasingly capacious and can store power from solar, but are still expensive. If you don’t have solar panels, meanwhile – or you have the wrong sort of system installed – then once the home batteries run down you’re left out of power.

If your home battery is part of an EV, however, you could in theory drive to a charger and top up. That does, of course, rely on chargers themselves having power still, and it would leave the home offline while you were away charging, but a smaller fixed battery could potentially take up the slack during that shorter period.

For now, that sort of V2L application is beyond what Hyundai is explicitly talking about with the Ioniq 5. Its focus has been more on charging things like laptops and electric scooters, or running useful appliances while camping. Those sort of applications are probably going to be more readily understood to a mass market audience still learning to see an EV as more than just a car which happens to run on electricity.

Hyundai will explain more on that front as we get closer to the 2022 Ioniq 5’s arrival in US dealerships this fall. Down the line, though, it seems increasingly likely that the concept of an electric car using its power simply to drive around will be considered short-sighted. That’s only going to be accelerated as we see more examples of just how fragile the grid we rely on every day can be.

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2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Review – Desirable Diesel

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Out in the midwest, a bright red 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Duramax Turbo-Diesel will turn more heads than a supercar. Welcomed by my new pickup brethren with raised thumbs, nonchalant nods, and turning heads, it was a stark reminder that – for much of the US – the flexibility and styling of a truck still makes them the go-to mode of transport. After living with the Sierra, for the most part I could understand why.

The fifth-gen Sierra 1500 is, of course, much the same pickup as the fourth-gen Chevrolet Silverado 1500, only with a nudge upscale as GM has long used to differentiate the brands. Compared to the somewhat fussy – and fairly controversial – front end of the Chevy, the GMC’s more traditional grille is as palatable as it is large.

On the AT4 – sitting above the base Sierra, SLE, Elevation, and SLT versions, just below the most lavish Denali trim – that grille is body-colored, which helps reduce a little of the visual heft. It’s also more of an excuse to splash on the glorious Cayenne Red Tintcoat paint, a $645 option which readily rivals Mazda’s iconic red and pops nicely against the snow under the winter sun. LED headlamps and fog lamps are standard too, as is GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate.

At the rear of either a short or standard box, it flexes like a Transformers toy to offer six different positions, including a full-width step and a useful two-level load stop. At 5’8 I’m not going to say I didn’t appreciate the leg-up, just as I did the fixed high-level side step that’s standard on the $3,700 AT4 Premium Package.

Helping garner me trucker attention was the AT4’s 2-inch lift and X31 suspension; there’s also an auto-locking rear differential and a two-speed Autotrac transfer case that works with the optional 4WD. 18-inch machined aluminum wheels wear beefy Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain rubber. Denali models can be had with adaptive suspension, but such niceties aren’t offered on the AT4.

$995 adds the Duramax 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo-diesel engine. Its 277 horsepower falls short of even the smallest 2.7-liter turbo gas engine, but its 460 lb-ft of torque matches that of the biggest 6.2-liter V8 but arrives at a rewardingly-low 1,500 rpm. The V8 gas engine makes you wait for its max twist until 4,100 rpm. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard, slurring nicely and neatly in the background and worthy of no complaints.

The diesel is a gem, not least because it’ll give you the best economy of the Sierra 1500 bunch. 22 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined aren’t going to give true environmentalists much to sing about, but when the rest of GMC’s pickups fall somewhere in the teens it’s worth noting. In my predominantly city driving, mostly in 4WD mode with nary a thought to the weight of my right foot, I still managed 21.6 mpg.

You can tow 8,900 pounds, while the payload clocks in at 2,233 pounds. Forget rattly diesels of old: there’s a little more noise than some gas engines, but it’s actually a fairly pleasant mechanical thrum with a little growl when pushed, while bounce is kept to a minimum on all but the worst asphalt. It’s that surfeit of low-end torque that’s the gift which keeps on giving, however, sending the Sierra surging forward from stop lights and helping bely its general heft.

With the Midwest’s lake effect snow playing its havoc, that 4WD system and the AT4’s lift paid dividends. Navigating through yet-to-be-plowed side roads proved to be a non-issue, the Wrangler tires proving to have more than enough grip even when the going got icy.

Inside, there’s plenty of space and decent standard equipment. Keyless entry and remote-start, dual zone climate control, 10-way power front bucket seats with heating and ventilation, heated outer rear seats, a heated steering wheel with leather, and a flexible storage bin under the easily-raised rear 60/40 folding bench. You also get a 120V outlet in the dashboard (and a second in the bed).

The AT4 Premium Package adds a rear sliding power window, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, front and rear parking assistance, blind-spot warnings and rear cross traffic alerts, and an 8-inch touchscreen. The $2,075 Technology Package brings a 360-degree camera which can also accommodate a trailer, a rear camera mirror, bed camera, multicolor head-up display, and an 8-inch digital display in the driver’s cluster.

Finally, the $1,095 Driver Alert Package II adds forward collision alert, lane-keep assistance, automatic emergency braking and front pedestrian braking, and adaptive cruise control. As standard you get hill descent control, trailer sway control and hill-start assist, a trailer brake controller, and tire pressure monitors.

It’s all fairly comprehensive – even if, with the various packages, it took the $53,800 (plus $1,595 destination) pickup to $64,400 all-in – and spacious front and rear, though the cabin doesn’t feel as special as the spec sheet might suggest. Even at 8-inches the touchscreen feels small in the slab-like dash, and there are a whole lot of buttons and knobs that start to feel a lot alike (and a lot like what you’d find in the cheaper Silverado, too).

That’s a problem, because rivals are pushing truck cabin aesthetics as much as capabilities. The latest Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 have big displays and more ergonomically-pleasing dashboards; the Sierra 1500 AT4 is fine inside, but I’m not sure “fine” cuts it these days. Especially not when you’re paying near-$65k for the privilege.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 4WD Duramax Turbo-Diesel Verdict

A general recognition that pickup buyers are looking for more than just cargo capabilities and shouldn’t be left out of the tech cycle is good for everyone, even if GMC feels like it’s lagging a little behind Ford and Ram on that front. In the end, it’s the 2021 Sierra 1500 AT4’s sure-footedness and that burly, lovable turbo diesel which shine, while I happen to think the AT4 trim looks the best of the bunch – including what Chevy will sell you.

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2022 Land Rover Defender pricing confirmed – The cost of a V8

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Land Rover has priced up the 2022 Defender, including the new V8 version of the SUV announced earlier this week. The MY22 will kick off at $47,700 (plus destination) for the Defender 90, the distinctive three-door version of the truck, when it arrives in US dealerships come summer 2021. Expect, however, to pay considerably more if you want that supercharged V8 under the hood.

For the 2022 Defender 90, the entry engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. That delivers 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is shared by the five-door 2022 Defender 110 which starts at $50,500 plus $1,350 destination. The 2022 Defender 90 S will be $51,100 plus destination, while the Defender 110 S will be $54,000.

Stepping up a powertrain, the 2022 Defender 90 X-Dynamic S and the 2022 Defender 110 SE get the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 mild-hybrid we tested in the Defender 110. That’s good for 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $59,500 for the three-door and $65,100 for the five-door.

If you won’t settle for anything other than the V8 – and we can’t really argue with you – then prepare to open your wallet much wider. The 2022 Defender 90 V8 starts at $97,200 plus destination, while the 2022 Defender 110 V8 hits six figures, starting at $100,400. Land Rover will also have a Carpathian Edition of both, priced at $104,000 for the three-door and $107,200 for the five-door.

All four variants get the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8. It’s packing 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, and Land Rover says to expect 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds from the Defender 90 V8, and a top speed of 149 mph. Air suspension and an electronic active rear differential are standard, as is a new Dynamic drive mode in the SUV’s Terrain Response system. That prioritizes performance on asphalt and loose surfaces like gravel.

Replacing the old Defender 110 First Edition, meanwhile, is the 2022 Defender 110 XS Edition. Only offered on the five-door version of the SUV, and with the 3.0-liter mild-hybrid six cylinder engine, it’s priced at $71,900 plus destination.

Compared to the regular 110, it comes with special body-color lower cladding and lower wheel arches, around 20-inch, contrast diamond-turned alloy wheels finished in Satin Grey. Inside, there are 12-way heated and ventilated seats in Ebony Grained leather and Robust Woven Textile; Land Rover also throws in the extended leather package, illuminated metal tread plates, and finishes the Cross Car Beam running across the dashboard with a Light Grey powder coat brushed finish.

All 2022 Defender trims get wireless phone charging with a signal booster, and can be optioned with a larger, 11.4-inch curved touchscreen for the Pivi Pro infotainment system. There are also three new exterior design packs – the Bright Pack, Extended Bright Pack, and Extended Black Pack – available on select models.

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