The next version of the great wireless standard, Wi-Fi 7, is still in development and it won’t be long before it hits the market. While Wi-Fi 6 (and Wi-Fi 6E) was a step up from previous standards, Wi-Fi 7 will be the version that finally replaces local wired networks with wireless connections.
Wi-Fi 7 is defined as 802.11be and points to two key benefits that are repeated in each new version of the standard: faster speeds and reduced network congestion. According to the WiFi Alliance responsible body, the new version will support 30Gbps or more bandwidth, which is a big step up from the maximum speed of 9.6Gbps available in Wi-Fi 6.
Several vendors are working to launch it, and now we’re getting Intel’s roadmap at a press conference from the firm’s vice president of wireless solutions, Eric McLaughlin. Although the chip giant has exited the router and gateway business, the company remains the world’s number one manufacturer of Wi-Fi modules for personal computers.
Intel’s Wi-Fi 7-enabled chips will be released in late 2024 and will be released for laptops before rolling out to the rest of the personal computer segment, the executive said.
I must say that with such a schedule, Intel could lag behind competitors. The first network devices with Wi-Fi 7 (routers, access points, etc.) are expected in 2023, and providers such as MediaTek and Qualcomm have already presented technology presentations of the new standard with ARM architecture. Let’s see.
Wi-Fi 7 Key Features
- Theoretical data transfer rate up to 46 Gbps. A monumental increase over 9.6Gbps Wi-Fi 6.
- 320 MHz bandwidth (320/160+160 MHz and 240/160+80 MHz), double that of Wi-Fi 6.
- More efficient use of contiguous and non-contiguous spectrum.
- Aggregation and multiband/multichannel operation.
- Quadrature amplitude modulation QAM up to 4094 vs. 1024 before.
- Doubling the number of spatial streams from 8 to 16 and improving the MIMO function.
- Improved resource allocation in OFDMA.
- Multi-User Resource Unit (MRU) to increase the ability to connect more devices at higher speeds and with fewer interruptions.
- Enhancements to Multi-Link Operation (MLO), which combines multiple channels in different frequency bands simultaneously to improve network traffic. Required for streaming gameplay.
- Coordination of multiple access points (APs) in coordinated and collaborative transmission.
- Improved channel adaptation and retransmission protocol, especially in hybrid automatic repeat requests (HARQs).