Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E still haven’t gained the desired popularity, but the IEEE is already finalizing the Wi-Fi 7 standard. What new features will the next generation of wireless networking introduce?
Wi-Fi is the abbreviation for Wireless Fidelity. It describes set of standardsthat are used for building wireless computer networks. Wi-Fi remains a trademark Wi-Fi Alliance – An organization that certifies devices that use the standard IEEE 802.11. It is IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) nurtures the development of Wi-Fi standards.
Modern home router
Currently, the latest generation of Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi 6 launched in 2019. In the meantime, it has also been released Wi-Fi 6EBoth standards have not yet been adequately popularized (Wi-Fi 5 is still the most widely used protocol), but IEEE working group is already completing major work on the Wi-Fi 7 standard. The largest network equipment manufacturers in the world are also working on their first Wi-Fi 7 devices – the leading company in this field is Qualcomm, which at the fair MWC 2022 (February 2022) announced the first Wi-Fi 7 compatible chip – FastConnect 7800.
Wi-Fi 7 – 802.11be will focus on performance and throughput
Wi-Fi 7 is the trade name for the IEEE 802.11be wireless communications standard. Extremely High Throughput. According to current information (April 2022), Wi-Fi 7 will be ratified in 2024. This means that there is still some time left for implementation, but equipment manufacturers on their own are testing the current capabilities of the new standard.
Key Wi-Fi 7 news
Wi-Fi 7 will focus on ensuring the highest possible performance, which will be achieved through greater channel width. Not to forget, Wi-Fi 7 will also leverage the capabilities of existing standards – mainly Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6/6E.
Wi-Fi 7 in theory more efficient than Thunderbolt 3
IEEE boasts that Wi-Fi 7 will significantly increase the capacity of wireless networks. The data provided by the developers of the standard is very promising. The maximum throughput of Wi-Fi 7 is expected to be as high as 46 Gbps – 4.8 times faster than Wi-Fi 6 and slightly faster than wired connectivity Thunderbolt 3 with 40 Gbps throughput, which you’ll find in many expensive computers from 2016-2020.
In reality, we should expect smaller performance increases. Mike Roberts – Qualcomm’s global vice president of product marketing communicated that the modem FastConnect 7800 will be 60% more efficient than Wi-Fi 6E-based solutions. Its throughput is expected to be 5.8 Gbps during normal use. According to the competition – the company MediaTek – Wi-Fi 7 will be 2.4x faster than Wi-Fi 6. These numbers will increase later – we are talking about network devices that are being developed before the standard is finalized.
Wi-Fi 7 will also be smarter and provide lower latency
Wi-Fi 7 like 5G is being developed to provide high performance regardless of the number of devices connected to a single base station. Wi-Fi 7 will use the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands (introduced with Wi-Fi 6E).
New will be used for use, additional channels to allow for high-bandwidth communications. This solution will be used, among others, in wireless networks such as Mesh Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi 7 will allow seamless band switching during data transmission, which is not possible in Wi-Fi 6.
Routers with Wi-Fi 7 will take advantage of multi-link features, which allows communication on different frequencies at the same time while maintaining a single MAC interface. Wi-Fi 7 will allocate data packets to the least congested channel, since the data rate is no longer an essential part of the overall system.
Multi-Link technology as described by Qualcomm
Forget about setting up 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks
With the Multi-Link Users of Wi-Fi 7 based network devices will not have to bother with manual selection of communication channels and bands. The system will continuously scan the nearest network environment and fully automatically select the optimal connection parameters with the client device.
There will also be an option that will allow you to fast data transfer between two devices using all available bands.
Qualcomm boasts that the FastConnect 7800 modem is able to connect using four streams on two bands – 5 GHz and 6 GHz.
Wider channels mean more bandwidth
Wi-Fi 6 uses 160 MHz channels. In Wi-Fi 7, it will be possible to use 320 MHz channels. Wider bandwidth positively influences the efficiency of data transmission and reduces the risk of interference during communication. Wi-Fi 7 can handle them with a solution preamble puncturing, which allows for changing the channel bandwidth to interference-free without breaking the connection.
Mesh Wi-Fi System
Wi-Fi 7 is also 1024-QAM. We are talking about a way to effectively increasing throughput by increasing the number of bits transmitted by an analog signal. According to IEEE it is talking about a 25% increase over the 256-QAM used in Wi-Fi 5.
Intelligent channel selection = lower latency
Qualcomm highlights another important change. Wi-Fi 7 with intelligent channel selection will noticeably reduce latency during wireless connectivity. According to Qualcomm, Wi-Fi 7 is ideal for use in conjunction with technologies AR and VR, as well as cloud computing i cloud gaming.
AFC (Automated Frequency Coordination) the ace up Wi-Fi’s sleeve 7
Wi-Fi 7 will also receive support for features AFC. Its purpose is to coordinate the use of spectrum specifically designed to operate in the 6 GHz band. The solution was developed by United States Federal Communications Commission, for unlicensed Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) devices to interoperate with other equipment that has been previously licensed to use the 6 GHz band.
Wi-Fi module 6 in a laptop
Source: Mika Baumeister / Unsplash
This solution will avoid drops in wireless connection quality.
The 6 GHz band (5.925 – 7.125 GHz to be exact) was made available by the FCC only two years ago. It will be fully utilized only after the market deployment of devices based on the use of Wi-Fi 7 networks.
With AFC, it will be possible to take advantage of the bandwidth offered by the 6 GHz network while maintaining the higher performance available in the 5 Ghz network.