Wi-Fi 7: The Future of Wireless Networking

Russell Kidson
Mar 10, 2023

Wi-Fi 7 standard is the latest iteration in the Wi-Fi series and boasts impressive advancements, including significant bandwidth and latency improvements, making it nearly five times faster than Wi-Fi 6. The updated standard also includes optimizations designed to improve performance in device-rich households. Consumers can expect the first Wi-Fi 7 routers and devices to become available in early 2023.

While Wi-Fi 6E still appears cutting-edge at the beginning of 2023, Wi-Fi 7 is just around the corner, and it promises transfer speeds that may render Ethernet cables obsolete. The proposed specification is set to revolutionize wireless networking, offering faster and more efficient data transfer, higher bandwidth, and improved user experience.

Wi-Fi 7 The Future of Wireless Networking

An exploration of Wi-Fi 7 and its speed

Wi-Fi 7 is the latest specification for Wi-Fi devices currently under development and based on the draft 802.11be standard published in May 2021, which has yet to be finalized or approved by the FCC. One of the most significant features of Wi-Fi 7 is its potential to make wired Ethernet connections obsolete for a certain class of users, including both home users and professionals. A live demonstration of the standard showcased some impressive speeds in early 2022.

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Wi-Fi 7 is capable of supporting bandwidth up to 46 gigabits per second (Gbps) per access point, which is nearly five times faster than the maximum speed of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), with the authors of the draft referring to it as 'Extremely High Throughput' (EHT). While commonly available wired Ethernet technology currently maxes out at 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T), higher speeds such as Terabit Ethernet are only found in specialized settings like data centers and are unlikely to arrive in home or small business settings anytime soon.

Under optimal conditions, Wi-Fi 7 has the potential to replace the need for wired connections for current users of both Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. However, some purists and power users may still prefer hard-wired connections for their reliability and performance.

Other notable features of Wi-Fi 7

In addition to its theoretical potential for lightning-fast speeds, the Wi-Fi Alliance has planned several other significant improvements to be included in the Wi-Fi 7 standard. These improvements are designed to enhance the overall user experience and address the specific needs of modern device-rich households. The upcoming standard promises to provide better connectivity, reduced latency, and increased reliability, offering a significant upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 and previous iterations of the Wi-Fi standard.

Unlocking the Potential of the 6 GHz Band

The new '6 GHz Band,' which spans from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz, was first introduced in the Wi-Fi 6E standard, allowing for the full utilization of this spectrum. Currently, the 6 GHz band is exclusively allocated for Wi-Fi applications, although this may change in the future. Utilizing this band for wireless connectivity results in significantly less interference when compared to the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands, making it an ideal choice for Wi-Fi applications that require high-speed data transfer and low latency.

Lower latency

The draft Wi-Fi 7 specification aims to deliver lower latencies and higher reliabilities for time-sensitive networking (TSN), which is essential for cloud computing and cloud gaming. Achieving this goal is also critical for replacing wired Ethernet connections. While Wi-Fi 6 has already made notable improvements in latency when compared to Wi-Fi 5, the objective of Wi-Fi 7 is to offer consistent single-digit millisecond latency across the entire network for all connected devices, regardless of their location within the coverage area. This will ensure that every device in the network benefits from the low latency performance of Wi-Fi 7, rather than just those within the optimal coverage range.

Wi-Fi 7 The Future of Wireless Networking

A new revolution

Wi-Fi 7 is poised to revolutionize wireless networking with its blazing-fast speeds and significantly reduced latency. With the potential to offer consistent single-digit millisecond latency across the entire network for all connected devices, Wi-Fi 7 has the potential to replace wired Ethernet connections for a wide range of users. While still in development, the proposed specification holds great promise for the future of wireless networking and represents a significant step forward for the industry.


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