Wi-Fi 7 is the latest generation of wireless network standards, revolutionizing how we use data for various applications. Apart from the ultra high-speed network, what are the specifications and features of Wi-Fi 7 technology?
IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput Standard
Wi-Fi 6/6E technology has a maximum data rate of 9.6 Gbps with eight spatial streams. Wi-Fi 7 can provide 46.1 Gbps which is a four times higher data rate than the sixth-generation wireless network.
Wi-Fi 7 will use a higher bandwidth spectrum to achieve an extremely faster data rate.
What are the major trends in Wi-Fi
We have seen significant improvements in data rate and low latency with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6. It can support data rates close to 10 Gbps and latency of less than 10 milliseconds. Next-generation Wi-Fi standards can offer three times higher data rates, much higher capacity, and even lower latency networks.
Specifications of Wi-Fi – 7
Wi-Fi 7 uses advanced technologies to maximize its capacity to support a huge number of devices with low latency and high reliability.
In the current wireless system, access points support three channels, one lower band 2.4GHz and two high bands in 5GHz and 6GHz. In Wi-Fi 7 technology, the multichannel option will be utilized efficiently to increase the data rate. Depending on the availability, links can be switched to achieve maximum throughput.
For example, a device can simultaneously utilize high band support in one 5GHz band or one in each 5GH and 6GHz band. This will significantly increase the data rate and efficiency.
The multi-linking option is one of the effective ways to increase efficiency, especially in congested environments like airport terminals, sports venues, hospitals, etc.…
Multiple Access Point Coordination
If there are multiple access points, the device chooses one access point to connect to and ignores the other. Once the device is underconnectivity of an access point, it informs nearby access points to reduce transmission power (if the devices are closer to those access points) to reduce interference.
Joint transmission – multiple access points can transmit information to devices simultaneously to improve the signal.
Wide Channel Bandwidths 6 GHz spectrum
With the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, channel bandwidth has increased significantly from earlier generations. Currently, it offers multiple channels of 160MHz spectrum in the 6GHz (only in the regions that support 6GHz) band. Wi-Fi 7 will be capable of 320MHz channel bandwidth for data transfer (two times higher than the 6th generation).
Multi-link allows the creation of a 320MHz effective channel by aggregating two 160MHz channels in a high band. Higher throughputs can be achieved even without the 6GHz spectrum in some regions where 6GHz has not been allocated.
Smart Interference avoidance
If a user occupies a portion of a spectrum in a conventional Wi-Fi system, the access point will prevent using that spectrum. In Wi-Fi 7, a smart solution called Preamble Puncturing is used to avoid interference in the spectrum. It basically avoids the portion of the spectrum and allocates contiguous channels within that spectrum.
Automated Frequency Coordination
Due to higher bandwidth(1200 MHz – 5.925–7.125 GHz), the 6GHz band is one of the popular bands for licensed and unlicensed spectrum utilization. 6GHz band is a perfect fit for high data rate and low latency applications like autonomous driving and on-demand multimedia streaming applications. Wi-Fi6 has been designed to handle high data rates up to GHz per second speeds; it is achieved by the use of 6GHz spectrum (earlier generations used 2.4 and 5GHz).
Since some existing users of the 6GHz band exist, the Wi-Fi6 system could interfere with existing spectrum users. Some of the early adopters of the 6GHz spectrum are fixed satellite internet providers and private cable operators.
Although the FCC has permitted the usage of unlicensed Wi-Fi operation at the 6GHz band, there are some strict guidelines for spectrum utilization. According to FFC’s power classification, there are two types of access points (APs): low-power APs for indoor Wi-Fi usage and standard-power APs for outdoor Wi-Fi transmission.
Low-power indoor access points do not cause interference due to lower power levels. The signals will not penetrate through walls or concrete blocks, thus harmless for co-existence. Standard power outdoor access points could contribute potential interference to existing services at the 6GHz band. To solve this issue, simple yet effective frequency coordination is used for co-existence in the wireless ecosystem.
What is Automated Frequency Coordination?
In a wireless ecosystem, all existing technologies and their spectrum usage will be registered and kept in a database in each area. A new wireless access point will have to consult with the database and make sure it does not interfere with existing systems. Simply, if a wireless device (AP) wants to use a particular bandwidth within the 6GHz range, it has to check if anyone else is already using that spectrum. If the required bandwidth is not occupied, AP can initiate to setup wireless node.
In standard power access point AP scenarios, AFC is an effective way to avoid interference with already occupied users of the 6GHz band.
4K QAM schemes
Wi-Fi 7 supports 4K QAM modulation schemes which increase data rate for users close to the access points and allocates capacity efficiently for other users/devices.
Features of Wi-Fi 7
Ultra Fast Data
Wi-Fi 7 is expected to handle data rates up to 46.1 Gbps, the highest speed possible in wireless mode. Wi-Fi 7 uses technology advancements like multi-link, MIMO, higher order modulation schemes, and higher spectrum to achieve extreme speed.
With extremely fast data for applications like AR, VR, and HD multimedia gaming, Wi-Fi 7 ensures an excellent user experience.
Ultra Low Latency
Conventional broadcast uses single access points in earlier generation Wi-Fi systems, affecting the latency. Ultra lower latency can be achieved in Wi-Fi 7 due to access to multiple links in parallel.
Wi-Fi 6 technology has already achieved single-digit millisecond latency. Multi-link operation support in Wi-Fi 7 will offer reduced latency of less than five milliseconds.
Due to packet duplication over multiple links, the chance of data loss is significantly reduced, thus offering a highly reliable connection.
Spectrum and network energy efficiency
Efficient utilization of spectrum and overall network is possible with Wi-Fi 7 architecture. Even in a crowded atmosphere (like airport terminals or a sports venue), access points will be able to handle the device load efficiently with sophisticated algorithms and techniques like MIMO and beam forming.
Network energy efficiency is one of the smart features of Wi-Fi 7. Access points will calculate the transmission power required for each device under its circle. This will reduce interference in the network and improve the energy efficiency of the whole system.
Connection Density – More Devices
Wi-Fi 7 can handle a higher number of devices under each access point compared to earlier generations (Wi-Fi 6/ 6E). An increase in the number of devices will not impact the resource limit like speed or latency.
Devices Support Wi-Fi 7
Flagship models like Samsung Galaxy Ultra S23 have Wi-Fi 7 hardware capability. However, it is currently disabled with firmware options at the moment. The latest iPhone 15 has Wi-Fi 6E enabled and is yet to be upgraded to Wi-Fi 7 in future models.
Google’s Pixel 8 also has Wi-Fi 7 enabled on the hardware. According to user feedback, it is still not fully capable of delivering maximum speed Wi-Fi 7 promises (it could be due to Wi-Fi router limitations).
Applications of Wi-Fi – 7
- Gigabit Wireless connectivity for PC for gaming, work environment
- Broadband connectivity for smart devices, gadgets, and gaming consoles
- Virtual reality VR and Augmented Reality – AR applications
- High Definition – HD multimedia applications for home entertainment like HD television, HD audio devices
- Smart home application
- Medicine and healthcare applications
- HD live camera feeds for security and monitoring applications
- Internet of Things and smart sensor networks
- Industrial applications
- Logistics and shipping management
Wi-Fi 7 timeline
Wi-Fi 7 is still under development and testing phase, and it is expected to be available by mid-2024.