What is WiFi 7 and its advantages over previous versions?

Although WiFi 6E is still being talked about as a cutting-edge technology in 2022, we already found some specifications on what WiFi 7 will be like and how it will improve over its previous one. 

In the world of wireless technology, the term WiFi is synonymous with wireless access, although it is a specific trademark owned by the WiFi Alliance, a group dedicated to certifying that these products comply with the IEEE set of 802.11 wireless standards.

These standards include a family of specifications that began in the 1990s and continues to grow today.

Well, the 802.11be standard, also known as Extremely High Throughput (EHT), is the one that in a few years will be popularly known as WiFi 7. Development is already underway, and a draft has already appeared that predicts a planned final version by early 2024.

What technology do WiFi 7 consist of?

First of all, it should be noted that this new standard is related to WiFi 6 and the inclusion of the 6GHz frequency spectrum for greater speed and use of WiFi 6.E channels (the most modern version of this technology that we currently have).

And we are already talking about WiFi 7 when most of our routers still work with WiFi 6. In the case of WiFi 6E, its popularity is expected to explode during this 2022.

With all this and although it seems that version 7 is still far away, there is not much left for our devices to start operating with this technology. Since 2019 we have been working on this novelty and in this report we are going to break down some of its main advantages.

Its main objective is to ensure that a client can connect to multiple access points (known as Multi-AP) at the same time, in order to obtain better response times and speed.

Its specifications are based on the draft of the 802.11be standard, as we have mentioned before, which was published in May 2021 and has not yet been finalized or approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

In theory, WiFi 7 can support a bandwidth of up to 30 gigabits per second per access pointwith a serious theoretical speed of 48 GBPS, that is, almost 5 times higher than the theoretical speed of WiFi 6E, which is of 9.6GBPS. The authors of the draft call it Extremely High Throughput.

This basically means how much information you are going to receive every second on your device. And it is that at present, wired Ethernet technology reaches a maximum of 10 gigabits. 

It is true that there are higher speeds (Terabit Ethernet) in specialized environments, such as data centers, its arrival at home or small business, which is where we focus, seems unthinkable at the moment.

On the other hand, another of the novelties that stand out and that takes from WiFi 6E, is that of the use of the 6GHz band, which is added to the previous two: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. In practice, this means much less congestion, less latency, and more speed.

However, this band loses out if you get too far away or have a lot of walls or walls that make it difficult to connect. In this case it will be better to switch to the 2.4GHz WiFi.

Wi-Fi 5WiFi 6WiFi 6EWi-Fi 7
Release year2013201920212024
IEEE standard802.11ac802.11ax802.11ax-2021802.11be
Bands5GHZ5GHz and 2.4GHz5GHz ,2.4GHz and 6GHz5GHz ,2.4GHz and 6GHz
Channel width160MHZ160MHZ160MHZ320mhz
MIMO antennas48816
Wi-Fi versions comparison table

Another advantage is compatibility with other versions, which means that no new devices or hardware will be needed to connect to a router with WiFi 7.

To this we add the multi- link operation (MLO), which will allow you to use all available bands and channels dynamically to speed up connections or avoid those with interference (latency).

MIMO (Multiple-input Multiple-output) technology, on the other hand, will be part of WiFi 7, presenting a much greater coverage that will go from 8 to 16 spatial streams. The higher the number of flows from the router or access point, the higher the performance, the faster the network speed, and the more simultaneous devices can be connected to the network.

“The good thing with using MIMO is that it enables smart device connections, as the technology looks for the path, so to speak, that is clearest to do the data transmission. In this case, WiFi 7 has more lanes on a road”, explains David Cortés, video design and implementation engineer.

WiFi 7 products are expected to hit the market in 2024. An IEEE Spectrum article cites this year as a possible availability date, which will be the starting signal for the popularization of WiFi 7 in the cheapest brands and in operator routers.

The WiFi Alliance has not yet assigned the official name to WiFi 7, although we have already started to name it that way, so if a manufacturer offers it, it is important that you know that it does not yet formally exist as such.

However, LitePoint, one of the reference companies in wireless connectivity testing systems, presented in September 2021 the new IQxel-MX WiFi 7, capable of operating between the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, with 320 MHz channels and MLO. 

That is, a test device with the technical characteristics that will theoretically be implemented in WiFi 7.

What advantages will it bring us?

Now the question is, what is this going to translate into in concrete terms for users?

In the field of companies, it is expected that it will benefit IoT applications ( Internet of things, if we translate it), also industrial automation, surveillance and remote control. These speeds will allow, for example, that a person can download several movies at the same time, in 4K quality, through Netflix in less than a minute.

In addition, it could be used for future virtual reality, augmented reality, and other video-based applications that require high bandwidth, the lowest possible latency, and the highest connection reliability.

In the case of streaming, they can be done in 8K without registering interference or failure and allowing multiple participants at the same time. 

As for home users, we could also benefit from WiFi 7 in online gaming thanks to its lower latency. But that’s not all, we also have smart home services and, in addition, applications for virtual reality and augmented reality.

It seems that these are all very useful features at a time when the cloud, online gaming and streaming demand higher capacity and connection stability.

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