Wi-Fi 7: Everything You Need to Know

Wi-Fi 7 hasn’t yet been ratified, but the IEEE (the people who write the Wi-Fi standards) started working on Wi-Fi 7 in March 2019 and thanks to initial drafts, we do have an understanding of what Wi-Fi 7 could look like: faster, more adaptable, excelling in high density.

So what does Wi-Fi 7 look like?

Wi-Fi 7 is going to be faster than its predecessors. A new ultra-wide 320Mhz and 4096 QAM will both be supported as part of the standard, allowing more data to travel over the air. Theoretical figures are as high as 46.1Gbit/s; while real-world results will almost certainly fall short of this, it’s clear that Wi-Fi 7 will give us more bandwidth than ever before.

Latency is another big focus of Wi-Fi 7; VR/AR and other applications can have very demanding latency requirements, and Wi-Fi 7 will address this challenge with Multi-Link Operation, which allows two Wi-Fi channels to be used simultaneously to reduce latency.

Wi-Fi 7 also looks to make more efficient use of the 5GHz and 6GHz frequency bands when wider channel widths are used. Multi Resource Units (RU) and Puncturing allow the Wi-Fi channel to be split into different parts. This enables multiple users to use the channel and allows the access point to side-step interference that only affects part of the channel. All this means a better user experience, especially in environments with a higher user density or environments susceptible to external sources of interference.

What are the key differences between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7?

Wi-Fi 7 isn’t a revolutionary shift in the way Wi-Fi 6 was, but it makes several really important steps forward in terms of standards.

  • In terms of speed, it’ll surge with a maximum speed of 36 Gbps compared to Wi-Fi 6’s 9.6 Gbps
  • It’ll support up to 320MHz channels compared to 160 channels
  • It will introduce Multi-Link Operation (MLO), making it possible for devices to send and receive data simultaneously across multiple frequency bands and channels
  • Multi resource unit puncturing will make to most efficient use of bandwidth
  • It can use 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz

When can we expect Wi-Fi 7 to become available?

Whilst the official launch happened just a few months ago (November 2022), displaying early device designs, routers coming to market isn’t expected until later into 2023, probably towards the end of the year and into 2024. Wi-Fi 7 compatible devices will be longer, meaning the uptake of the new standard will largely follow user demand.

If you’d like to know more about Wi-Fi 7 and how best to plan network upgrades, get in touch with our team.