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Wi-Fi 7

The next generation Wi-Fi 7 Standard is expected to be completed in early 2024

Certification of Wi-Fi 7 — the next generation of wireless networking for home, business and industrial environments — is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2024, according to a post on the Wi-Fi Alliance website.

“Wi-Fi Certified 7, based on IEEE 802.11be technology, will be available before the end of Q1 2024,” noted the Alliance, an industry group that sets Wi-Fi standards, and drives adoption and development of the technology. in his post.

“Wi-Fi 7 devices are entering the market today, and Wi-Fi Certified 7 will facilitate worldwide interoperability and bring advanced Wi-Fi performance to the next era of connected devices,” it added.

The group claimed that Wi-Fi 7 will bring breakthrough capabilities to applications that require high throughput, lower latency and greater reliability, applications that utilize technologies such as augmented, virtual and augmented reality, immersive 3D training and ultra-high definition video streaming.

Speed freak

"Wi-Fi 7 offers dramatically increased speeds over Wi-Fi 6 and 6E," said Kristen Hanich, analyst at Parks Associates , a market research and consulting firm specializing in consumer technology products, in Dallas.

"Wi-Fi 7's key differentiator over 6 and 6E is its support for extremely high throughput, reaching speeds of up to 46 Gbps compared to Wi-Fi 6E's maximum of 10 Gbps," she told TechNewsWorld.

"This is far beyond what the vast majority of residential subscribers need today, and also far beyond what most private internet providers offer today," she continued.

"A more immediate benefit to users is lower power consumption from client devices such as laptops or phones, but it remains to be seen how much of a difference this makes in real-world conditions," she added.

wifi 7 speed

Dynamic Band Switching Advantage

One of the most anticipated new features in Wi-Fi 7 is multi-link operation (MLO), noted Andrew Spivey, a senior analyst at ABI Research , a global technology intelligence company.

"It will help solve the spectrum congestion challenges that consumers and businesses currently face by significantly improving spectrum efficiency," he told TechNewsWorld. "MLO does this by enabling the aggregation of multiple radio links to form wider channels than would otherwise be necessary."

“Today, if you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you have to decide which band to connect to – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz or 6 GHz – and that's it. As long as you're connected, that's the band you're using, says Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research , a consumer technology consulting firm in New York City, told TechNewsWorld.

"What multilink operation allows you to do," he continued, "is connect dynamically to multiple bands."

Spivey added that another key benefit of Wi-Fi 7 is that it provides access to the newly released 6 GHz band, effectively doubling the available spectrum – and therefore capacity – in the US, which will also help overcome challenges with spectrum congestion.

Gaining traction in the market

Rubin explained that the Wi-Fi Alliance has recently accelerated its time to standardization in step with the first generations of Wi-Fi.

"One reason 6E was adopted so soon after 6 was because the US government approved the 6 GHz band - the main feature of 6E - and the alliance wanted to accommodate that," he said.

"In contrast," he added, "Wi-Fi 7 is more in line with what we would expect to see in improvements over a previous generation."

The previous generations – Wi-Fi 6 and 6E – have gained traction in the market since they were launched in 2019 and 2021. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, more than half of the Wi-Fi enabled devices shipped in 2022 were 6 or 6E certified.

“The alliance expected over 350 million Wi-Fi 6Eunits would hit the market that year,” Hanich said. “This is much faster than previous Wi-Fi generations.”

The market's appetite for Wi-Fi 6 devices is unlikely to wane. "However, while demand for Wi-Fi 6 will continue, Wi-Fi 7 will see rapid traction, thanks to demand for its many new features, particularly pent-up demand for the additional network capacity that Wi-Fi 7 can offer," Spivey argued .

Competes with 6 and 6E

Hanich noted that newer standards always compete with the older ones – on price if nothing else.

"The adoption of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E was helped by the scarcity of Wi-Fi 5 chipsets, which made the chips hard to find and expensive when they were found," she said. “7 will not have that advantage and will have to compete directly with Wi-Fi 6 and especially 6E.”

"Although 7 offers dramatically higher bandwidth than Wi-Fi 6E, it is far beyond the needs of most consumers today," she continued. “There are niches where it will do very well, though – AR/VR applications, enterprise environments where people need to move large amounts of data quickly, and so on.”

However, there are signs that Wi-Fi 6E may not hurt Wi-Fi 7 sales that much.

In a research report Spivey wrote in November, he noted that anticipation for Wi-Fi 7 has been high in 2023. At the same time, he continued, few Wi-Fi 6E deployments have been made in the year to date, reflecting a widely held belief that Wi -Fi 6E was only a stepping stone standard and that its relevance would quickly diminish with the arrival of Wi-Fi 7.

Slow market integration

Obtaining certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance is just the beginning of the market journey for Wi-Fi 7.

“The time it takes for a new Wi-Fi standard to be incorporated into the market varies, but it typically takes two to three years for widespread use,” Mark N. Vena, CEO and principal analyst at SmartTech Research , in San Jose, California, told TechNewsWorld.

He cited several factors influencing adoption, including device availability and cost, perceived benefits of the standard, and how marketing creates awareness of the standard.

Hanich agreed that it takes years for the market to adopt a new standard. "It depends on how much of a leap forward the technology represents and how in demand it is," she said.

“Wi-Fi 6 and 6E had a rapid uptake compared to previous generations, in part due to the pandemic – ISPs upgraded their routers and consumers went out and bought new products,” she continued.

"There are already some pre-certified Wi-Fi 7 devices on the market, and premium products will likely include 7 as soon as certified chips are available," she added, "but it usually takes longer to trickle out to the rest of the ecosystem."

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