What is Wi-Fi 7?

what is wi-fi 7

So What is Wi-Fi 7?

A long time in a galaxy far away, wait, no... wrong story!
Let me start again…

A long time ago, 802.11n was born. It was a cute little protocol and it changed the world.

Shortly after that 802.11ac came along. It built on the functionality of 802.11n, but it did it a lot better.

Just like in Greek history, Philip did all the work, and gave his son (Alexander) an empire to rule. Alexander did some truly amazing things, but it was Philip who started it. It is Alexander who we give the title “The Great”, Philip became “just” Alexander’s father…

Well, the same thing happened with 802.11n. 802.11n did all the work, 802.11n was revolutionary, but 802.11ac got all the glory. 802.11ac is bigger, better, wider, faster 802.11n Sure, it has a few more bells and whistles, but it’s leveraging what 802.11n gave us.

Why are you telling us this tale? Do you have a soft spot for Alex’s dad because he, too, is called Phillip?
Well, the answer to the second one, is “probably”.

The answer to the first one, is because it’s happening again. 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 changed the world. It is truly revolutionary. It paved the way for 6GHz access. But it will be forgotten, because we are all going to get 802.11be/Wi-Fi 7 soon. APs are already announced and clients will surely follow (“if you build it, they will come”).

What is Wi-Fi7 going to give us*?:

320MHz channels – 2x the maximum we have now (bigger, better, faster)
4096 QAM – an even faster more complex MCS (bigger, better, faster)

It is also promising:
Multi-link Operation (MLO) – Wi-Fi operating over two (or more) bands simultaneously.
Multi-RU – you can have more than one RU allocated to you.
Puncturing – your neighbor, operating 20MHz in the middle of the channel you are trying to use, doesn’t matter any more.
Managed QoS and QoE – more reliable connections, and much lower more deterministic latency.
A max of >35Gbps (Alarm! Alarm! Marketing mode = Active) Yeah... that’s not real! But it is nearly 4x the maximum in 802.11ax/Wi-Fi6 and 6E.

“Why do we need all this?” is a question most often asked.

Well, apparently, this time next year (approximately Summer 2024), we are all going to be streaming Hi-Def videos, and jumping into the metaverse with high resolution, incredible perceptive reality VR/AR/XR goggles on. You can jump in, and take the dog for a virtual walk, in realistic, unbelievable environments.

Of course, with me, being a sceptic: I wonder how you are going to get the dog to wear the goggles? You could probably take the dog for a real walk, and get some exercise out of it…

Anyway, I digress... apparently, we need all this huge throughput and extremely low delay and jitter, and we cannot live without it. Wi-Fi 7 is going to give it to us.

All joking aside, even if you ignore the hype, Wi-Fi 7 is promising some serious improvements in speed and functionality.

I can hardly wait…

*Remember, all these things are promised.
We will have to wait and see what actually arrives, and what works, when the amendment is fully standardized and completed (expected late 2024). Already, real operation of MLO may be punted off to 802.11bn/Wi-Fi8. Breath holding = Active.

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