Most of us use Wi-Fi in our everyday lives. Whether for work, school, or entertainment, we rely on this technology to stay informed and productive. You may or may not already know that we are currently on Wi-Fi 6 and in some cases Wi-Fi 6E and are getting ready for the next stage in Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 7. EnGenius has been helping consumers and businesses with their Wi-Fi needs to help them take advantage of the evolution of Wi-Fi, and we are here to help explain what Wi-Fi 7 is, how it works, what it will offer and how it will affect you. Here are the seven things you should know about Wi-Fi 7.
1 What does the 7 stand for?
Unlike the iPhone, there isn’t a new Wi-Fi released every year. Wi-Fi 7 is the upcoming Wi-Fi standard set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In the beginning, 1997, there was Wi-Fi 0 which was succeeded by Wi-Fi 1 in 1999 and both worked on the 2.4GHz frequency band. Wi-Fi 2 was also adopted in 1999 and worked on the 5GHz frequency band and offered up to 54 Mbit/s linkrates. Wi-Fi 3 was adopted in 2003 and offered a similar maximum linkrate but back on the 2.4GHz band. The first standard to be branded was Wi-Fi 4, around 2007, which worked on the 2.4GHz wireless band and was followed in 2013 by Wi-Fi 5, which added the 5GHz band. Wi-Fi 6 started around 2019 and was followed by Wi-Fi6E, which introduced the 6GHz band in 2021. Each iteration of the Wi-Fi standard also introduced and helped evolve Wi-Fi into what it is today (see below for more details).
Wi-Fi 7 will work across all three wireless bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) and will be differentiated from its previous Wi-Fi 6 predecessor by making a performance gain for consumers by having extreme speed and low latency. That means that you can take advantage of 8k video streaming, experience Virtual Reality (VR) or extended reality (XR), and utilize multi and simultaneous video conferencing all on your wireless network.
2 4k QAM For your 8K streaming
Wi-Fi 7 will enable faster speeds by standardizing an advanced modulation schema called 4k QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), which empowers each signal to carry 12 bits instead of 10 bits (20% increase). 4k QAM will pack more data in each signal, which will help increase throughput and capacity compared to Wi-Fi systems using 1k QAM.
If you were thinking 4k like television resolution, you’re on the right track. Instead of 4k pixels, the new Wi-Fi 7 modulation will allow 4k bits of data instead of the old 1k model. Think of it this way: Wi-Fi 7’s 4k QAM will allow you to easily enjoy 4k and even 8k video streaming.
3 6 GHz Band and 320 MHz Channels: Wider Lanes for your Data Highways
Currently, Wi-Fi 6 uses 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz and can use 160 MHz wide channels. Wi-Fi 7 will also use 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz frequencies, but Wi-Fi 7 can use 320 MHz wide channels, double the previous Wi-Fi generations, on the 6GHz band. The 6GHz band is wider than the 2.4 and 5GHz bands combined, making it easier to send data quickly and minimizing signal interference issues.
Wider channels and denser data packs mean a Wi-Fi 7 device will have a potential maximum data rate speed double that of any Wi-Fi 6/6E device. You’ll be able to watch 4k and 8k videos, play online games without lag, download large files in seconds, and much more.
4 Why choose one band? Why not both with Multi-link Operation?
Today’s Wi-Fi devices provide access to multiple wireless bands, discussed earlier, but typically only use a single link to transmit data, only switching to another if conditions change. Wi-Fi 7 will introduce multi-link operation (MLO) options that allow devices to connect simultaneously on two bands, leading to increased throughput, reduced latency, and increased reliability. This means that your data will now have more bands to travel on and create quicker connections even in congested areas or share the same redundant data to ensure that it arrives in case the other fails. MLO is excellent for emerging technologies like cloud computing, online gaming, VR/AR, and video streaming.
5 Take Full Advantage of All Your Network with Multiple RUs
With legacy Wi-Fi, users can only send or receive data on an assigned resource unit (RU), meaning that the entire channel is unavailable if another user uses any part of a large high-speed channel. This leads to significant limits on the flexibility of the spectrum resource scheduling. With multi-RU puncturing, Wi-Fi 7 devices will be allowed to use other parts of the same high-speed channel that are not in use, allowing single users to combine RUs to increase transmission efficiency. This flexibility will help alleviate congested networks and bands and enable users to take advantage of all the resources available in the network.
6 Wi-Fi 7 will get Down to Business
Running a business and being productive at work has become more reliant on communication across time zones and borders. With remote work and global workforces and partnerships, we rely on networking technologies to help us run our businesses. The pain of having out-of-synch documents, video meetings with disruptive lag times, and dealing with congested networks at home and in the office will be a thing of the past. Wi-Fi 7 will be vital to experiencing smoother and more reliable experiences online, especially with more business adoption of cloud applications and infrastructure. The next stage in Wi-Fi will stop slowing down your business and open doors to what you can do for your employees and customers.
7 Wi-Fi 7, Coming to a Home Near You
With so much entertainment to stream and interact with, and more to come with immersive technologies in AR/VR (is the metaverse still happening?), you don’t want to be waiting for videos to buffer, have delays during a game, or have to watch in lower quality rates. With Wi-Fi 7, you and your family and friends can simultaneously enjoy games and videos in 4k/8k.
We have also seen an explosion in home-connected devices or the internet of things (IoT). Most of these devices connect via Wi-Fi and rely on your Wi-Fi to work correctly. Whether it’s your smart lights, home security devices, or smart-autonomous vacuum, your smart home devices work best with a reliable and fast network connection.
Wi-Fi 7 will have benefits for a multitude of people, from the technology enthusiast to the remote worker and from the IT technicians to the parents who want to keep everyone on their networks happy.
In the upcoming months, we will start seeing more products offering Wi-Fi 7, and we will begin to enjoy all the benefits. For now, it is great to know what Wi-Fi 7 is and how it will impact your work and everyday life. EnGenius has over two decades of helping consumers and businesses with their networking needs by making products that are simple, reliable, and easy to use, and Wi-Fi 7 will be no different.
Learn more about Wi-Fi 7 technology.