The next evolution in home connectivity, Wi-Fi 7, is coming soon. Qualcomm executives said they expect to see whole-home mesh networks and Wi-Fi 7 routers as early as next year.
With Wi-Fi 7, Qualcomm expects wireless speeds to reach up to 33 Gbps. And compared to Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, the next evolution of Wi-Fi will bring much wider channels that will help connect more devices, reduce latency and bring even faster speeds.
This makes Wi-Fi 7 more than three times faster than Wi-Fi 6E, and the new standard doubles the channel width to handle more traffic.
To make Wi-Fi 7 a reality, Qualcomm is starting to test its new Wi-Fi 7 chipset with customers. Company executives said reference designs will likely arrive later this year with commercial availability likely in 2023 if previous deadlines for major Wi-Fi standards revisions are to be followed.
“Qualcomm Technologies ushered in the era of 10Gbps Wi-Fi with our first customer shipments of the Wi-Fi 7 Networking Pro Series family,” said Nick Kucharewski, senior vice president and general manager, Wireless Infrastructure and Networking. , Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Combining support for the latest Wi-Fi 7 innovations with our unique product platform architecture, the platform enables solutions ranging from whole-home mesh to powerful connectivity networks for large public places.
In addition to Qualcomm, rival Mediatek showed off Wi-Fi 7 as part of a marketing blitz at CES earlier this year.
Compared to previous generations of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 7 is positioned for simultaneous multi-link operations and comes with up to quad-band configurations. Qualcomm’s Pro Series Networking chipset operates across the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz spectrum, and with a super-wide channel of 320MHz, the result is that you can see up to twice the increase in throughput per compared to Wi-Fi 6.
Up to 500 users can connect to Wi-Fi 7 per channel. Wi-Fi 7 will also be able to aggregate connections across multiple different bands to help drive even faster connections, with maximum aggregate speeds of up to 33 Gbps and point-to-point connections over 10 Gbps.
“The products can support a high-speed, low-latency wireless link for home mesh Wi-Fi and enterprise infrastructure with reliable performance even in the presence of nearby interference,” the company said, noting that Wi-Fi 7 will be able to drive even lower latency. These advantages will certainly be appreciated in new applications such as high-resolution video conferencing, augmented and virtual reality sessions and high-performance games.
A key speed advantage here is Wi-Fi 7’s ability to dynamically adapt to interference with multi-link technology. Rather than halving the available channel like on Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 7 can simply cut off the spectrum where the interference is, freeing up the rest of the channel for your Wi-Fi connections.
“Multi-Link technology enables customer traffic to dynamically aggregate or alternate bands to avoid wireless interference and deliver deterministic, predictable low latency in heavily congested environments,” Qualcomm explained. “HBS Multi-Link only leverages the high-performance 5 and 6 GHz bands to deliver the best Multi-Link throughput and latency performance.”
The chipset will be available in multiple configurations ranging from six streams to 16 streams with peak speeds of 10.8 Gbps to 33.1 Gbps. Qualcomm noted that it will be up to partners – including names like TP-Link, Amazon Eero and Netgear – to configure the devices with the specifications needed to target their customers.
For home users looking forward to a Wi-Fi 7 future, you’ll likely need a capable home broadband plan that’s fast enough to maximize the value. Even today’s maximum Wi-Fi 6E speeds are far beyond what most home plans can handle. However, even with home broadband plans significantly slower than the 33Gbps maximum promised by Wi-Fi 7, Qualcomm executives said there were still benefits to switching to the technology.
When using whole-home Wi-Fi, signal and structural interference can affect Wi-Fi speeds, and the higher maximum PHY rate can help buffer any major speed drops. Second, the higher PHY and peak throughput rates supported by the new protocol will help mesh networks perform more strongly and help satellite nodes deliver faster speeds to devices connected to them.
In addition to routers and mesh systems, you’ll also need devices equipped with Wi-Fi 7 radios, ranging from smartphones and tablets to desktop computers and game consoles, in order to reap the full benefits of this new wireless standard. .