WiFi 7, also known as WiFi 802.11be Extremely High Throughput (EHT), is the newest generation of WiFi technology expected to roll out commercially in 2024. WiFi 7 aims to provide faster speeds, lower latency, increased capacity, and better reliability compared to previous WiFi generations.
Increased Speed and Capacity
WiFi 7 can theoretically support maximum speeds up to 40 Gbps, almost 3 times faster than WiFi 6. Real-world speeds will likely reach 10 Gbps and beyond.
This extreme speed comes from wider channels and more efficient data encoding. WiFi 7 quadruples the maximum channel width to 320 MHz compared to WiFi 6’s 80 MHz channels. It also uses 4K QAM encoding to pack more data bits into the same radio waves.
The speed boost significantly increases total WiFi network capacity. More devices can connect with fast, reliable wireless performance even in dense, congested environments like stadiums and conferences.
Latency refers to the time delay for data transmission between devices. WiFi 7 aims to provide ultra-low latency down to 1 ms, which will bring WiFi networks closer to wired Ethernet’s performance.
This very low latency will benefit applications like gaming, VR/AR, video conferencing, and autonomous mobility that require quick response times. Smooth wireless experiences can be achieved as latency sensitive traffic gets prioritized.
Key technologies like Multi-Resource Unit (MRU) and Multi-Link Operation (MLO) optimize the use of all available wireless spectrum to ensure low latency connectivity.
WiFi 7 access points and devices will be fully backwards compatible with earlier WiFi generations including WiFi 6. Upgrading only the router is sufficient for legacy devices to enjoy improvements like higher speeds and capacity.
For the complete WiFi 7 experience, both the access point and client device wireless radios will need to support the 802.11be standard. But WiFi 7 is designed to seamlessly work with older WiFi radios too by dynamically optimizing based on capabilities.
Despite significant speed and performance gains, WiFi 7 maintains good power efficiency. Improvements like pre-wakeup notification of pending data and multi-link operation coordination allow WiFi radios to remain in low power standby whenever possible.
WiFi 7 aims to increase battery life for mobile devices. Laptops, phones, tablets and other battery-constrained devices will see extended usable times between charges when using WiFi 7.
WiFi 7 expands support for more precise indoor positioning. Upgrades like multi-link positioning measurement and triggering enhance location accuracy down to centimeter levels.
Precise location awareness over WiFi networks has uses across industrial automation, asset tracking, proximity-based marketing, navigation, and augmented reality. WiFi 7 takes wireless localization capabilities even further.
Key Technology Innovations
Several key innovations coming in WiFi 7 enable the major leaps in performance:
- Multi-Link Operation (MLO): Leverages all available wireless radio spectrum simultaneously across different frequency bands for greater throughput and reliability. Data is split and recombined seamlessly at the software layer.
- Multi-Resource Unit (MRU): Allows a single WiFi radio to operate as multiple sub-channels to optimize transmissions for either high throughput or low latency connectivity. More data streams can occur in parallel.
- 4K QAM Encoding: Packs more bits into WiFi radio signals for higher transfer speeds per channel. Builds on WiFi 6’s 1024 QAM.
- 320 MHz Channels: Expands channel widths up to 320 MHz so more data can be carried per transmission. Reduces interference through intelligent coordination.
WiFi 7 defines the next generation of WiFi network capabilities for the coming years. With new technologies and spectrum support, it promises great leaps in speed, capacity, latency, reliability and precision as wireless demands grow.
- WiFi 7 introduces major upgrades like Multi-Link Operation, Multi-Resource Unit, 4K QAM and 320 MHz channels to deliver faster speeds up to 40 Gbps.
- Ultra-low latency down to 1 ms and improved power efficiency provide a better wireless experience.
- Backwards compatibility allows gradual upgrades while supporting legacy WiFi devices.
- Precise location accuracy and awareness enables new applications across industries.
- Even with significant performance gains, WiFi 7 maintains good power efficiency to extend battery life.
In conclusion, WiFi 7 or 802.11be Extremely High Throughput builds on WiFi 6 and 6E with wider channels, new multi-link innovations, and 4K QAM encoding for extreme wireless speeds, capacity and performance.
When commercially available in 2024, WiFi 7 will become the new leading WiFi standard for the coming years. It empowers next-generation applications from VR to autonomous vehicles that depend on very high throughput and low latency. With flexible backwards compatibility, WiFi 7 promises faster and more reliable wireless connectivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is WiFi 7?
WiFi 7 is the unofficial name for the upcoming 802.11be WiFi standard focused on Extremely High Throughput (EHT). It greatly improves speeds, latency, capacity and overall wireless performance compared to today’s WiFi 6/6E networks.
- How fast is WiFi 7?
WiFi 7 supports amazing maximum theoretical speeds up to 40 Gbps per access point. Real-world speeds will reach 10 Gbps or higher. This is almost 3X faster than WiFi 6’s top speeds.
- When will WiFi 7 be released?
WiFi 7 is expected to become commercially available in consumer products around 2024. The 802.11be standard should finalize in late 2023.
- What frequency does WiFi 7 use?
WiFi 7 expands into new 6 GHz and 7 GHz spectrum in addition to traditional 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. More available spectrum enables wider 320 MHz channels and multi-link operation.
- What industries will benefit from WiFi 7?
WiFi 7 will empower next-gen experiences like truly wireless VR/AR, 8K video streaming, autonomous mobility systems requiring very low latency. It advances capabilities across healthcare, manufacturing, retail, entertainment and more.
- How is WiFi 7 different from WiFi 6 or 6E?
While WiFi 6 introduced technologies like OFDMA and 1024 QAM, WiFi 7 supercharges performance even further with speeds up to 40 Gbps, latency down to 1 MS, 320 MHz channels, MLO and MRU innovations enabling high speed/capacity and low latency simultaneously.
- Is WiFi 7 backwards compatible?
Yes, WiFi 7 maintains backwards compatibility with WiFi 6, WiFi 5 and earlier standards. Upgrade just the router, and WiFi 7 will dynamically optimize for best performance across legacy client devices.
- What does EHT stand for in WiFi 7?
EHT = Extremely High Throughput. It highlights WiFi 7’s core focus on maximizing wireless speeds, capacity and performance to over 10 Gbps thanks to wider channels, multi-link operation and 4K QAM encoding.
- What is Multi Link Operation in WiFi 7?
Multi Link Operation or MLO in WiFi 7 simultaneously leverages all available wireless spectrum across 2.4, 5, 6, and 7 GHz frequency bands for maximum speed and network capacity using intelligent coordination and dynamic data splitting.
- How does WiFi 7 improve location accuracy?
WiFi 7 expands precise positioning capabilities with enhancements like multi-link positioning measurement techniques and location accuracy triggering. This enables centimeter-level indoor location awareness over WiFi.
- Will WiFi 7 work with Bluetooth?
Yes. WiFi 7 maintains coexistence support for Bluetooth to minimize interference. Improvements like MLO frequency aware scheduling help WiFi 7 cooperatively work alongside Bluetooth for better wireless performance overall.
- How does WiFi 7 improve latency?
Optimizations like multi-resource unit and multi-link coordination prioritize latency-sensitive traffic on WiFi 7 networks. New technologies push latency down to incredible 1 MS levels – much closer to wired levels for smooth performance.
- Will WiFi 7 save battery life?
Yes. Despite impressive speed and feature gains, WiFi 7 maintains and even improves power efficiency to extend battery life on phones, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices through intelligent coordination and low power standby states.
- How much will WiFi 7 cost?
Pricing for WiFi 7 capable devices is not yet set, but expect a price premium over WiFi 6 gear initially. However over time, mass adoption will drive down costs of WiFi 7 compatible routers, phones, laptops and Internet of Things devices.