Wi-Fi 7, which is also called IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput (EHT), is the next generation of Wi-Fi technology that is being made to connect devices faster and more efficiently.
Wi-Fi 7 is faster than Wi-Fi 6 by more than four times, can handle five times as many connections, and has much less latency. When there are a lot of people around, like at large public events, where there may be a lot of interference from other devices, it’s important to have faster speeds and more space.
It is thought that it will be a standard by 2024, but the first devices that support it are likely to come out before then.
Wi-Fi 7 Key Features
Its main benefit is that it can offer faster speeds and less latency than older versions of Wi-Fi. This is possible because Wi-Fi 6 and older generations use a new frequency band (6 GHz) along with the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands they already use.
Wi-Fi 7 also has the following new features and improvements over older Wi-Fi standards:
Larger Channel Size
The channel width of Wi-Fi 7 is 320 MHz, which is twice as wide as Wi-Fi 6. How much data can pass through a Wi-Fi channel is based on its width. The wider the channel, the more data it can send. This means both faster speeds and the ability to send more data at once.
Multi-link operation (MLO) lets devices use two or more channels from any available frequency band (6/5/2.4 GHz) to send and receive data at the same time. This is helpful for things like video conferencing, cloud computing, and extended reality gaming, which need less latency and more bandwidth.
The method of putting information on a radio signal is called quadrature amplitude modulation. Wi-Fi 7 has improved modulation of 4096-QAM, which means that it can pack more data and go faster.
TP-Link tells us why Wi-Fi 7 needs 4K-QAM:
This is important for consistently serving a large number of clients and making sure that WiFi coverage is fast and reliable in places with a lot of people.
Multi-user multiple input, multiple output, or MU-MIMO, lets a Wi-Fi router talk to multiple devices at the same time. This makes it easier to target specific devices and makes the wireless connection work better. Wi-Fi 7 doubles the number of spatial streams from 8 to 16, which means it can send data twice as fast as Wi-Fi 6.
Automated Frequency Coordination
Everything RF says that AFC is “a spectrum use coordination system made up of a registered database of all the bands used by different types of radio frequency services in a certain area.”
What does this have to do with Wi-Fi 7? Wi-Fi access points that work on the 6 GHz band, like Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6E, use AFC. But NASA, weather radar systems, and other important services already use this band.
AFC is used to figure out if interference is a problem so that Wi-Fi 7 networks don’t hurt these services. If interference is a problem, transmission power is lowered. If no such problems are expected, the access point can give out more power and keep throughput and wireless service at normal levels.
Wi-Fi 7 vs Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 7 is expected to be much better than Wi-Fi 6 in terms of its overall performance. Its theoretical top speed is 46 Gbps, which is a lot faster than the 9.6 Gbps of Wi-Fi 6.
Wi-Fi 7 is also expected to have less latency, which will make it great for things like online gaming and virtual reality that need fast response times.
Here’s a quick comparison of Wi-Fi 7, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 6:
|Wi-Fi 7||Wi-Fi 6E||Wi-Fi 6|
|Bands||6 GHz, 5 GHz, 2.4 GHz||6 GHz, 5 GHz, 2.4 GHz||5 GHz, 2.4 GHz|
|Channel Size||Up to 320 MHz||20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz||20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz|
|Max Data Rate||46 Gbps||9.5 Gbps||9.6 Gbps|
|Release Date||2024 (est.)||2021||2019|
Wi-Fi 7 Availability
Wi-Fi 7 is still being worked on, so it hasn’t been used by many people yet. Even though it is expected to be a big improvement over Wi-Fi 6 in terms of speed and performance, it won’t be widely available for a while because it needs new hardware.
One company already advertising compatible products, such as mesh Wi-Fi 7 systems, Wi-Fi routers, and access points are TP-Link.
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Do You Need Wi-Fi 7?
Wi-Fi 6 isn’t going away anytime soon. As Wi-Fi 7 is added to our homes and businesses, it will still be used for a long time. But Wi-Fi 7 still has a clear audience in mind.
In particular, if your network has problems like slow connections, buffering, and the like, Wi-Fi 7 will make a lot of big changes for the better. As you just read, Wi-Fi 7 is useful at home, at work, and in public places.
Think about how hundreds or thousands of devices are all trying to use the same amount of bandwidth for cloud gaming, smart home connectivity, video calls, streaming, etc. Every year, more and more devices need to connect to the internet, so we need to improve how we connect to the internet with new technologies like Wi-Fi 7.
Even if your network doesn’t support gigabit speeds, Wi-Fi 7 could still be useful for local devices. If your router, VR headset, and other devices support Wi-Fi 7, they could talk to each other at very fast speeds even if your ISP’s internet can’t.
For example, you wouldn’t have any trouble using Wi-Fi 7 to support the immersive experience your VR headset is meant to give you or to stream movies from your media server to your TV in perfect quality.