The Wifi 6E successor is yet to be released, but it promises to change the world of Wifi connections as we know. With promises of increased Wifi speed and stability, here’s all you need to know about the upcoming Wifi 7.
Although Wifi 6E has barely arrived yet, with the first Wifi 6 routers hitting the market in 2019, the industry is already gearing to introduce Wifi 7 — the next and improved generation of wireless networking technology. While we don’t see Wifi 7 as a radical departure from the previous generations as it will continue to operate in 2.4, 5 and 6GHz frequency, it’s bound to improve connection reliability and stability.
What is Wifi 7?
Wifi 7 is simply the 7th generation of Wifi promising major improvements over Wifi 6 and 6E. Technically, Wifi 7 is IEEE 802.11be, whereas Wifi 6 was IEEE 802.11ax. We won’t bother you with the technical jargon too much, but the name isn’t the only thing that’s changing in the world of Wifi.
According to reports, Wifi 7’s main focus is on delivering EHT: Extremely High-Throughput, an instrument for using real-time apps and services related to cloud computing, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, the metaverse and remote working. It’s safe to say that the Wifi 7 might just be the solution to many connectivity and reliability issues in the industry. The next generation of Wifi is also rumoured to bring several advancements such as improved data transfer speeds, less latency and high bandwidth channels — all of which are significantly needed in a world increasingly depending on Wifi every day.
What benefits will Wifi 7 bring?
Although many of us are still getting acquainted with Wifi 6, we can still anticipate the arrival of Wifi 7. The IEE formed a study group and worked on the EHT project last year, intending to envision what the next Wifi generation will look like and what it’d bring to the table.
As the name suggests, one goal of the new Wifi standard is the dramatic increase in throughput i.e bringing Gigabit-Ethernet speeds to multiple devices throughout the home. Some highlights of Wifi 7 include internet speeds of up to 30 gigabits per second, up to 16 spatial streams for using dozens of devices, and a variety of technical refinements with capabilities that will blow the best routers out of the water.
Other than providing the fastest connections ever, Wifi 7 will also tackle congestion and interference, two of the most prevalent issues in the Internet world today. Wifi interference issues are rising due to the increasing number of wifi-enabled devices in every home and workplace. This specific refinement will undoubtedly bring tangible benefit to areas with densely packed devices or neighbouring, overlapping networks.
How does Wifi 7 compare to its predecessor, Wifi 6E?
Moving past the hype for Wifi 7’s release, what is it that distinguishes Wifi 7 from Wifi 6E? As far as we know, Wifi 6E was made to be revolutionary as it took the already-exceptional Wifi 6 standard and expanded it by unlocking a new 6GHz brandwidth. That meant more capacity, speed, less traffic and the ideal networking solution for hyperconnected smart households.
To put it into perspective, think of a hyperconnected, smart household as a highway with four highly-congested traffic lanes. When Wifi 6E entered the picture, a whole brand new lane opened, allowing a wider freeway and significantly less congestion.
Now, although Wifi 7 will use the same three bands — 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz — here are some notable, never before seen upgrades.
Each frequency band is divided into their own channels. The wider the channel — the more data it can transmit. The 2.4 GHz band has 11 channels 20 megahertz each, while the 5 GHz band has 45 channels and the ability to create 40-80 MHz channels. The 6GHz band supports 60 channels and with Wifi 6E, these can expand up to 160 MHz.
And with Wifi 7, channels supported are up to a whopping 320 MHz wide. Imagine how much data users will be able to transmit over a congestion-free and traffic-free channel.
Quadrature Amplitude Modulation is a method to transmit and receive data in radio-frequency waves. The higher the QAM, the easier it is to pack in more information. Wifi 7 supports 4k-QAM, while its predecessors supported lesser ranges.
The leap from 1024-QAM to 4K-QAM offers a 20 per cent increase in peak performance and implies that it can convey even more data per cycle.
Last but not least, the most exciting upgrade from Wifi 6E is that Wifi 7 is Multi-link Operation. Multiband or Multi-link operation will allow devices to connect over more than one wireless band, allowing a tri-band router to combine multiple connections to feed data to devices. The previous Wifi standards only established connections between two devices on a single band.
MLO can combine several frequencies across bands into a single connection and enable wider channels, capable of transmitting more data.
Sometimes internet speed isn’t the priority. But MLO will ensure efficient performance. A Wifi 7 router will have the ability to take any congestion and interference and transmit it on the best channel to bypass it, maintaining a stable connection and low latency levels.
When will Wifi 7 be released?
Users will likely have to wait more than a year to see the first Wifi 7 devices and routers and experience its benefits. However, many companies like Qualcomm are already jumping on the Wifi 7 bandwagon and beginning to integrate it into their products. Broadcom and Mediatek have also announced their plans involving Wifi 7 technology.