What Do I Need to Know About WiFi 7?
First we had WiFi 6 and then WiFi 6E. Many companies have only recently upgraded their WiFi devices and networks to this standard, and others are still planning their upgrade process. However, something newer is already on the horizon: WiFi 7.
Let’s take a look at what is offered by WiFi 7 and what makes it different from all preceding WiFi standards.
What is WiFi 7?
WiFi 7, the latest WiFi standard, is also known as IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput (EHT). While WiFi 5 offers a max throughput of 6.9 Gbps and WiFi 6 offers 9.6 Gbps, WiFi 7 offers a shocking 46 Gbps. (While an exciting number to toss out there, it’s important to remember that most applications only need a small fraction of that for flawless performance.)
While WiFi 6 was designed and introduced in response to the high number of devices flooding WiFi networks, WiFi 7 is here to deliver greater speeds and efficiency for every device. It will (reportedly) significantly reduce buffering, lag times, and problems from congestion and interference. It will also use the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz frequency bands.
Do I need WiFi 7?
WiFi 7 promises faster speeds, low latency, and support for even more connections. Expect improved performance in congested environments – places like busy enterprises and large venues. If you depend on high-quality video, AR and VR applications, live streaming, or gaming applications, WiFi 7 could make a difference. It could also be helpful for remote workers who need to download large amounts of data from the cloud.
Remember that upgrading requires you to invest in both WiFi 7 devices and infrastructure. As with any upgrade process, it will be expensive and will take time. The good news is that, as with the other WiFi standards, WiFi 7 is backwards compatible. This means that if you haven’t upgraded to WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E yet, you may decide to wait for WiFi 7, since it will provide some extra benefits and will also support those technologies. You can invest in WiFi 7 capable devices for the areas of your business that absolutely need them, and boost everything else with WiFi 6/6E.
Why is WiFi 7 so fast?
Let’s break down some of the unique features of WiFi 7 and explain how it can deliver on its promises.
WiFi 7 will use the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz channels with the following channel widths:
- 2.4GHz: 11 channels of 20MHz each
- 5GHz: 45 channels with widths of 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, or 160MHz
- 6GHz: 60 channels as wide as 320MHz (double the width available with WiFi 6E)
The wider the channel, the more data that can be transmitted simultaneously at the fastest speeds. This makes WiFi 7 especially attractive for the data intensive applications mentioned above. In fact, thanks to these wider channels and some other new features, WiFi 7 offers up to 5 times more capacity than WiFi 6.
Higher Quadrature Amplitude Modulation
What you need to know about QAM is that the higher it is, the more data that can be sent in each transmission. WiFi 6 supports 1024-QAM while WiFi 7 supports 4K-QAM.
This means that more bits can be transmitted at a time, resulting in a higher transmission rate and stunning video displays for conferencing, gaming, and live streaming.
Multi-Link Operation (MLO)
With MLO, WiFi 7 access points (APs) can simultaneously send and receive data across different frequency bands and channels. Currently, APs choose one frequency band for transmissions. If network conditions change and another band becomes more efficient, APs will switch all transmissions to the new band.
Under MLO, WiFi 7 APs can connect to WiFi 7 client devices using multiple wireless bands and channels simultaneously. This makes it possible for these APs to make more nuanced decisions as to how to best avoid congestion and interference, and can help increase data rates, improve load balancing, reduce latency, and increase throughput.
More Available MU-MIMO Streams
MU-MIMO was introduced with WiFi 5. It allows multiple clients to simultaneously access an AP. While WiFi 5 only supported MU-MIMO downlinks, WiFi 6 added uplink support.
WiFi 7 now doubles the number of spatial streams available – from 8 to 16 – making more bandwidth available for more devices.
Make the best decisions for your business
Whether you need to upgrade to a future-proofed network or optimize your current network in real-time, the Wireless Intelligence Platform™ delivers everything you need to lock down a reliable, user-friendly WiFi network. With wired and WiFi automated testing, proactive alerts, and historical wireless traces, WIP eliminates WiFi worries. Ask us about a free trial or demo today.