Wifi 7 – everything you need to know about the home network of the future

Wifi 7 – everything you need to know about the home network of the future
Wifi 7 - everything you need to know about the home network of the future 1

Move on, Wifi 6E! The chipmakers, led by Qualcomm, have already started talking about their plans for the next generation of wifi technology. During this year’s MWC trade show, Qualcomm announced that the Wifi 7 chip Fastconnect 8700 intends to be the first to be launched when it is launched as part of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Connect specification at the end of the year.

However, the Wifi 7 specification, which also goes by the cumbersome name 802.11be Extremely High Throughput, is far from complete. The IEEE Institute of Technology expects the standard to be completed sometime in 2024, but as with previous generations, there is little to prevent the world’s manufacturers from beginning to sketch compatibility.

Yes, Wifi 7 will of course be faster, partly due to increased channel width. But the biggest improvement with Wifi 7 is how smart the standard will be based on what previous wifi versions have already introduced.

What is Wifi 7? The short answer:

Wifi 7 will significantly increase the bandwidth. We do not know exactly how much, but according to IEEE, the maximum throughput can end up at 46 Gbit / s. It is 4.8 times faster than Wifi 6 and slightly faster than the 40 Gbit / s that can be delivered by Thunderbolt 3/4.

In practice, the results will, as usual, be worse. According to Qualcomm CEO Mike Roberts, the Fastconnect 7800 is expected to reach speeds of around 5.8 Gbit / s, which is only 60 percent faster than the previous generation. The average latency will in turn be less than 2 milliseconds, which is also an improvement of 60 percent. Mediatek, which has also started to hype Wifi 7, believes, however, that Wifi 7 will initially “only” be 2.4 times faster than Wifi 6.

Faster, smarter and less laggy

Wifi 6 was optimized for gadget congestion and wireless efficiency, something that allowed our routers to communicate with far more devices than before. Wifi 6E built on this with a dedicated 6 GHz frequency band, which resulted in more channels for high-bandwidth devices, such as mesh routers, to give them a separate area for communication. If we think of wireless communication as files on a highway, we can illustrate this with the fact that Wifi 6E got a bus file.

In reality, cars on the highway can change lanes or roads to avoid traffic jams. Until now, wifi technology has not provided the same opportunity. A Wifi 6 router can communicate data on both the 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz channels simultaneously, but they all work independently of each other.

Wifi 7

Wifi 7’s biggest “gain” is that the technology gives routers the opportunity to become something completely different than they are today. Several physical devices can today communicate via radio waves, on separate frequencies, but Wifi 7 connects them under one and the same MAC interface so that an Xbox or smart speaker simply sees only a single device. A Wifi 7 router can distribute data packets over the frequency that is currently least loaded because it does not care which frequency is used.

Frequency jumping

Or yes, to simplify it, you can say that in the future you will not have to specify the frequency to which a specific device should be connected. Wifi 7 will select the best frequency based on congestion and send the data over that channel. Qualcomm calls this “alternating multi-link”, a concept that involves devices constantly jumping between the frequency bands. This is also said to lead to energy savings.

In case a Wifi 7 router just “talks” to another device, another technology may be used. It is referred to by Qualcomm as “High band simultaneous multi-link” and means that all frequency bands are used simultaneously to send a signal. This is true with modification because the 2.4 GHz band will continue to be reserved for slower iot gadgets. Qualcomm is rather talking about using the 5- and 6-GHz bands at the same time, at least in the upcoming Fastconnect 7800. Then in the form of four streams in total.

The increased channel width we wrote about earlier in the article goes from 160 to 320 MHz. Even if the 320 MHz channel were not available, Wifi 7 will be able to combine two 160 MHz channels in the higher 5- and 6-GHz frequencies to achieve much the same thing.

Wifi 7, or more specifically Qualcomm Fastconnect 7800, will be part of the manufacturer’s Snapdragon Connect venture. This houses all the “premium technology” that Qualcomm pumps out and devices that adopt the standard must be delivered with the best possible wifi, 5g and bluetooth specifications. This includes the Snapdragon X70, a brand new 5g modem that was also unveiled during the MWC trade fair in Barcelona.

Translation and editing: Billy Ekblom

Wifi 7 - everything you need to know about the home network of the future 1

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