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WBA lays out its vision of how transformative Wi-Fi 7 will be

The latest iteration of wifi technology – Wi-Fi 7 – will enable applications that are ‘impractical or impossible with other wired and wireless technologies’ claims The Wireless Broadband Alliance.

Andrew Wooden

September 12, 2023

3 Min Read
View of a Businessman holding a Wifi router and data - 3d rendering

The latest iteration of wifi technology – Wi-Fi 7 – will enable applications that are ‘impractical or impossible with other wired and wireless technologies’ claims The Wireless Broadband Alliance.

The WBA says Wi-Fi 7 will provide twice the bandwidth and three times the speed of Wi-Fi 6, and as such will allow an array of new consumer, enterprise, Industry 4.0, medical, smart city applications, as part of a report called ‘Get Ready for Wi-Fi 7: Applying New Capabilities to the Key Use Cases.’

Wi-Fi 7 is based on the IEEE 802.11be (Extreme High Throughput) and in terms of speed and bandwidth, the report explains it supports channel widths up to 320 MHz, while Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 are limited to 160 MHz. It also supports 4k QAM, which is an upgraded version of prior standards.

The subsequent three-fold speed increase is ‘critical for enabling whole-home multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi service,’ we’re told.

Wi-Fi 7 devices can also use multi-link operation (MLO) in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands to increase throughput by aggregating multiple links or to quickly move critical applications to the optimal band, all of which is pitched as useful for ‘latency-sensitive’ applications such as immersive XR/AR/VR, online gaming and other things that require high throughput, low latency, minimal jitter, and high reliability.

The WBA is in the process of working with tech firms to operate field trials of Wi-Fi 7 networks, which are designed to provide hands-on insights into deploying it across operator, residential, and enterprise networks.

The release gets a few allied spokespeople to flesh out some application examples and generally celebrate the glorious prospect of enhanced wifi ahead of us.

 “With Wi-Fi 7, business, service providers and smart cities now have a new option for quickly deploying enterprise-grade gigabit broadband outdoors, such as to connect buildings around an office campus, apartment complex or downtown,” said Gabriel Desjardins, Director of Product Marketing, Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division, Broadcom. “For example, MLO-enhanced multi-link single-radio (eMLSR) mode enables link redundancy to maximize reliability, while MLO simultaneous transmit and receive (STR) mode with 5 GHz+6 GHz bands can meet demanding enterprise backhaul requirements such as 10 Gbps throughput.”

Matt MacPherson, Wireless CTO, Cisco, added: “Wi-Fi has never been a more important technology. Building on the advancements made by the Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E standards, Wi-Fi 7 represents the next big leap towards more deterministic Wi-Fi. The next generation of wireless use cases – AR/VR, autonomous and intelligent vehicles, streaming 4K video – will rely on a trustworthy connection. The Wi-Fi 7 standard will allow Wi-Fi to be that reliable, secure connection that enterprises and service providers need to unlock the next generation of use cases.”

Eric McLaughlin, VP & GM Wireless Solutions Group, Intel, said: “Wi-Fi 7 will deliver another major leap in client device capabilities enabling multi-gigabit speed, lower latency, and more robust and deterministic behavior.  It will help accelerate innovation for new applications and use cases which will further enhance user experiences across many segments which include personal computing and IoT.  As in the past with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technologies, we are looking forward to showcasing amazing real-world benefits with industry partners via future WBA Wi-Fi 7 trials.”

In conclusion then, assuming you have a really good fibre connection to work with, the next version of wifi with its speed and bandwidth boosts and increased optimization abilities will have benefits for an array of not yet fully fleshed out enterprise applications and resource hungry tasks such as VR in the home. In that use case at least, considering you really would have to be indoors to want to strap on a headset and disappear into a virtual world of any kind, it comes across as a somewhat more solid pitch than when the metaverse was used as a selling point for 5G.

 

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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