Since the introduction of Wi-Fi by the Wi-Fi Alliance, each new generation of wireless networking technology has been a major improvement, particularly in speed. While Wi-Fi 5 and 6 are still fairly new to many people, Wi-Fi 7 is being developed by Taiwan-based semiconductor company MediaTek. Here are interesting things to know about Wi-Fi 7 development.
What Is Wi-Fi 7?
The more technical name given to Wi-Fi 7 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is "Standard 802.11be." The industry expects this new standard to reach the consumer market by 2024. Wi-Fi 7 occupies the same parts of the spectrum as Wi-Fi 6/6e. Other companies besides MediaTek working on products for the new standard include chipmaker Qualcomm and developer Broadcom.
Qualcomm has been at the forefront of wireless technology for decades, adhering and contributing to standards while offering innovations in radio waveform design and advanced antenna architecture. The company has focused on designing nextgen products that make the digital experience more efficient. Not only has Qualcomm manufactured products that are compatible with the new standard, it aims to push the boundaries of what Wi-Fi 7 can do.
Broadcom announced in April 2022 sample availability for its new Wi-Fi 7 chipset for routers and other networking devices. The company's rush toward product development for the new standard was partly fueled by the pandemic and the need for faster connections.Most businesses are not even ready for Wi-Fi 6, so it may be awhile before Wi-Fi 7 takes off. It's good to know what's up ahead in IT development so you can plan a technology roadmap and an appropriate budget. It helps to consult with tech professionals on upgrading your IT infrastructure.
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Importance of Following Wi-Fi Evolution
It's important for all businesses and consumers to be aware that much of today's technology will be outdated in the future. Since Wi-Fi began in the late nineties, businesses have moved progressively toward greater efficiency. In terms of networking, major issues of the early days such as latency and reliable connectivity are being resolved with Wi-Fi 6 and 7 generations.
These days, the speed of business is part of what ultimately shapes customer satisfaction. So having the fastest network speed possible allows for greater productivity and faster ways to resolve problems or make transactions. The ideal of a seamless network maximizes the potential of business activity, particularly involving multi-user applications.
Not all small businesses need to jump up to speed with the fastest networking, but the firms that depend on fast data transmission should be early Wi-Fi 6 and 7 adopters. National manufacturers and retailers can improve their business models enormously by embracing the new standards. Any business that aims to reach thousands of people needs to consider planning for more advanced networking in the future.
What to Expect from Wi-Fi 7
The Wi-Fi Alliance is the nonprofit organization that oversees the development of all wireless network generations. It claims that Wi-Fi 7 will launch a new era in which wireless networking will allow for super high-bandwidth applications supporting 30 Gbps. This advancement will make everything in the digital world amazingly more seamless, even complex technology such as AR and VR. The earliest rollout for Wi-Fi 7 products is projected by MediaTek to be 2023.
MediaTek corporate VP Alan Hsu said in a press release that Wi-Fi 7 will make 4k calls and 8k streaming seamless. In other words, it will be much easier for businesses to deliver multiple marketing messages to customers around the world. The company announced in January 2022 its team recently conducted its first live demonstrations of Wi-Fi 7 for key customers and collaborators.
One of the interesting aspects of Wi-Fi 7 is that it could make existing cabling obsolete. It could lead to a massive shift to wireless networking environments as the new norm. But it's unlikely the new standard will create massive changes in business infrastructure overnight. Even though the first routers for the new standard are expected to be expensive, early Wi-Fi 7 adopters will have huge competitive advantages.
Technical Features of Wi-Fi 7
Not only will Wi-Fi 7 have wider channels to transmit more data, but it will also support higher Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), which allows for the transfer of data through radio waves. As QAM increases, the coverage range shrinks, which calls for greater signal strength. The leap from Wi-Fi 6 to 7 allows for a 20 percent increase in peak performance.
Multi-link operation (MLO) empowers businesses to combine multiple frequencies across bands in one connection. MLO emphasizes performance efficiency. With a Wi-Fi 7 router, you can connect with a wireless device on two or more channels on the same time. You'll have a backup channel in case something happens with your primary channel, as automation software finds the best channel for delivery.
Automated frequency coordination (AFC) is a modern technology using the 6 GHz band by government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as weather radar systems. AFC keeps 6 GHz activity separated from the government's use of the spectrum, while preventing interference with radars.
Some of the current technologies that support the new standard include OFDMA, MU-MIMO and TWT. It's likely that many of the products that support Wi-Fi 6 will be compatible with Wi-Fi 7. It's important to note that Wi-Fi 6 will not be competing with Wi-Fi 7, as both will coexist as commercial choices.
Future Wi-Fi 7 Products
In order to take advantage of Wi-Fi 7 capabilities, businesses will need to upgrade several devices from routers to smartphones. The first batch of Wi-Fi 7 products will facilitate delivering large volumes of data, such as VR goggles and 8K TVs. One of the reasons many businesses will resist the new standard is that new routers will cost from $500 to $1,500. That's about the same price range for Wi-Fi 6. The combination of Wi-Fi 7 products promises the user a more smooth internet experience with a 4X faster and more stable connection.
Some of the most noticeable examples of Wi-Fi 7 will be experienced in cloud video and gaming. It will particularly be useful for multi-user real-time applications such as online video game competitions. Internet congestion, number of devices and latency will no longer be issues that interfere with online activity. A recurring theme throughout all the Wi-Fi generations has been the greater the bandwidth, the more data can be transmitted at a faster speed.
From a technical standpoint, Wi-Fi 7 can be viewed as wider bandwidth that accommodates significantly more channels. Its 2.4 GHz band encompasses 11 channels of 20 MHz, while the 5 GHz band accommodates 45 channels and the 6 GHz band allows 60 channels. Compared with Wi-Fi 6e, which supports up to 160 MHz of bandwidth, Wi-Fi 7 provides twice as much bandwidth.
In order for Wi-Fi 7 products to maximize efficiency, more computing power will be necessary. It will be crucial for large companies with massive customer bases to upgrade technology to allow for greater distribution and collection of data.
Most businesses are not even ready for Wi-Fi 6, so it may be awhile before Wi-Fi 7 takes off. It's good to know what's up ahead in IT development so you can plan a technology roadmap and an appropriate budget. It helps to consult with tech professionals on upgrading your IT infrastructure.