Wi-Fi 7 to play fundamental role in transforming work

Study from wireless technology trade association shows latest version of Wi-Fi standard will enable enterprise, Industry 4.0, medical, smart city and other applications that are impractical or impossible with wired and other wireless technologies

It’s only a few years since Wi-Fi 7 was first proposed, and since that time the technology industry has rushed to develop solutions to take advantage of the new standard that promises to offer wireless connectivity with a potential peak throughput of up to 10Gbps, and now wireless technology trade association the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has released a study showing how Wi-Fi 7 has a wide variety of advanced capabilities that will improve existing use cases or enable new ones that are not possible with existing wired and wireless technologies.

Led by WBA members Broadcom, CableLabs, Cisco and Intel, the report, Get ready for Wi-Fi 7: Applying new capabilities to the key use cases, explores how the new technology will likely transform how people worldwide live, work and play.

Offering double the bandwidth and three times the speed of Wi-Fi 6 – channel widths up to 320MHz – Wi-Fi 7 also supports 4k QAM, which is an upgrade over prior standards. With wider channels and 4k QAM capabilities, Wi-Fi 7 can deliver speeds over three times faster than Wi-Fi 6. This is regarded as critical for enabling whole-home multi-gigabit Wi-Fi service.

The paper also highlights how Wi-Fi 7 offers advanced support for latency-sensitive use cases. Devices can use multi-link operation (MLO) in the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz bands to increase throughput by aggregating multiple links or to quickly move critical applications to the optimal band using seamless switching between links. Fast link switching allows Wi-Fi 7 devices to avoid interference and access Wi-Fi channels without delaying critical traffic. The WBA said this and other new features also make Wi-Fi 7 ideal for immersive extended, augmented and virtual reality (XR/AR/VR) and other applications that require high throughput, low latency, minimal jitter and high reliability.

The WBA is actively collaborating with its members to conduct field trials of these technologies in real-life Wi-Fi 7 networks. These trials are open to all interested industry players and are a crucial platform for mobile device and access point suppliers, operators and service providers to collectively test Wi-Fi 7 capabilities in key deployments scenarios.

In these trials, participants will gain invaluable hands-on, real-world insights into deploying Wi-Fi 7 across operator, residential and enterprise networks. The WBA will share insights from tests to serve as a reference for industry stakeholders.

Get Ready for Wi-Fi 7 showcases the revolutionary capabilities that will enable Wi-Fi 7 to help bridge the digital divide and enable new use cases across consumer, business, education, government, medical, industrial, hospitality, public venues and transportation,” said Tiago Rodrigues, president and CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance. “WBA and its members are once again leading the way in providing and educating the industry on the next generation of Wi-Fi 7 innovation.”

Cisco Wireless CTO Matt MacPherson added: “Wi-Fi has never been a more important technology. Building on the advancements made by the Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E standards, Wi-Fi 7 represents the next big leap towards more deterministic Wi-Fi. The next generation of wireless use cases – AR/VR, autonomous and intelligent vehicles, streaming 4K video – will rely on a trustworthy connection. The Wi-Fi 7 standard will allow Wi-Fi to be that reliable, secure connection that enterprises and service providers need to unlock the next generation of use cases.”

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