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  • Writer's picturevikram vel

Wi-Fi 7 - From Megabits to Gigabits!

Wi-Fi as a technology standard has come a long way, it has actually become an integral part our day to day life. The last few years have seen heightened consumer focus on wireless networking. This sector of industry has always been quite busy, enabling the operation of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) in the 6GHz band with Wi-Fi 6E.

The 802.11 Working Group had started work on 802.11be with a focus on extremely high throughput (EHT). And I recently read a news update which said, Broadcom had launched it's recent Wi-Fi 7 Portfolio for access points.

I know, I know - you've heard a lot of these before, Wi-Fi devices making their way into homes and offices, a new flavor of Wi-Fi is emerging. It promises to improve on the current standard by bringing higher data rates, lower latency, the ability to handle more connected devices, and more.

But this time it gets really exciting, I think it is truly a leap forward. I got really excited thinking of the possibilities it might open up with the real time consumers! It's still in development, but it is sure to spawn a big crowd of new routers, mesh systems, and client devices.

Though still the technical specifications are still being worked out, the new standard could deliver nominal peak data rates of more than 40Gbps. This is already 5 times as fast as Wi-Fi 6. Now that's of course the "theoretical" number no one ever gets in real life, but it's still way faster.

The addition of entire new spectrum - 6 GHz, which is more exciting than it sounds. Basically up until now you would have seen most routers having the words - dual band running 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. But 6 GHz is just built different, where 2.4 GHz has 3 channels and 5 GHz has 9 (not counting those DFS ones), this new 6 GHz one has 59 channels!

Why should you care about 6 GHz?

Well all these spectrum interfaces has big benefits than just isolation of your devices from interference, we can actually combine channels to multiply your speed - this is called channel bonding. This is not something new, most of our 5 GHz routers already use 40MHz channels which is double the smallest channel size (20 MHz). And with Wi-Fi 7, it can support 320 MHz channel! This is one of the reasons why it can get to such top speeds!

In addition to offering previously unattainable data rates, Wi-Fi 7 will employ new technologies to reduce latency, increase network capacity, and boost efficiency. Wi-Fi 7 is also expected to offer a Restricted Target Wake Time feature that allows the router to reserve bandwidth for certain types of data transmissions. The benefits here are to conserve client battery life while optimizing network resources.

With this keen focus on speed, latency and determinism, Wi-Fi 7 is here and ready to roar. But this is expected to be in the market by late 2023 or by 2024. But for most people, the Wi-Fi 7 era will not start for a good few years yet. You’ll need either a new phone to access it, one that supports Wi-Fi 7, as well as a new home router.

And when was the last time you upgraded your router? Exactly…

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