While many individuals solely just lately upgraded to Wi-Fi 6, and a few could also be contemplating a soar to Wi-Fi 6E, their successor is already on the horizon. Wi-Fi 7 is the subsequent vital advance, and, identical to its predecessors, the new commonplace guarantees sooner connections, decrease latency, and the capacity to gracefully handle extra connections than ever earlier than.
If you’re looking to improve your Wi-Fi at present, Wi-Fi 7 is not the reply, as a result of assist might be scarce for a while to come. But early adopters might be excited by the information that the first batch of Wi-Fi 7 routers is set to land in early 2023. Realistically, it will likely be an excellent whereas earlier than most of us ought to take into account switching. If you want to improve pronto, first take into account delving into how to buy a router earlier than you try our picks of the best Wi-Fi routers and the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.
Updated November 2022: We adjusted the timeline as Wi-Fi 7 attracts nearer and added information about TP-Link’s Wi-Fi 7 router lineup.
What is Wi-Fi 7?
The seventh technology of Wi-Fi guarantees main enhancements over Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and will provide hurries up to 4 instances sooner. It additionally contains intelligent advances to scale back latency, enhance capability, and increase stability and effectivity.
Wi-Fi 7 is IEEE 802.11be in the previous naming conference, the place Wi-Fi 6 was IEEE 802.11ax, and Wi-Fi 5 was IEEE 802.11ac. Like earlier requirements, Wi-Fi 7 might be backward suitable. But to reap the benefits of the new options and improved efficiency it guarantees, you will have to improve your units. That means shopping for new routers and entry factors, not to point out new smartphones, laptops, TVs, and so forth.
What Benefits Will Wi-Fi 7 Bring?
Wi-Fi 7 might be sooner, assist extra connections, and be extra adaptive to preserve dependable low latency efficiency.
These advantages will assist ship high-quality video and higher cloud gaming, and they’ll serve AR and VR purposes that require excessive throughput and low latency. Wi-Fi 7 additionally tackles congestion and interference, bringing tangible advantages to areas with densely packed units or neighboring networks that overlap. The latter is most important for the enterprise and bigger venues.
How Does Wi-Fi 7 Compare to Wi-Fi 6E?
You could, understandably, surprise what distinguishes Wi-Fi 7 from Wi-Fi 6E, which broadly guarantees the similar benefits over earlier requirements by opening up the 6-GHz band. Especially since Wi-Fi 7 will use the similar three 2.4-GHz, 5 -GHz, and 6-GHz bands. Here are some notable upgrades.
Each band is damaged into channels. The 2.4-GHz band contains 11 channels of 20 megahertz (MHz) every. The 5-GHz band has 45 channels, however as a substitute of being restricted to a width of 20 MHz, they’ll mix to create 40-MHz or 80-MHz channels. The 6-GHz band helps 60 channels, and with Wi-Fi 6E they are often as broad as 160 MHz. Wi-Fi 7 helps channels which might be up to 320 MHz broad. The wider the channel, the extra information it might transmit.
A easy analogy is to think about how a lot visitors a single-lane highway can deal with in contrast to a three-lane freeway or a six-lane superhighway.
Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) is a way to transmit and obtain information in radio-frequency waves. The larger it is, the extra info you possibly can pack in. Wi-Fi 7 helps 4K-QAM, Wi-Fi 6 supported 1024-QAM, and Wi-Fi 5 was restricted to 256-QAM.
The potential advantages are difficult by sign power, background noise, and interference. Consequently, as QAM goes up, the vary drops, and also you want a stronger sign. So, the soar to 1024-QAM in Wi-Fi 6 supplied round a 25 % information fee enhance over Wi-Fi 5. The leap to 4K-QAM in Wi-Fi 7 interprets to a 20 % enhance in peak efficiency.
Perhaps the most enjoyable advance in Wi-Fi 7 is Multi-Link Operation (MLO). Every earlier Wi-Fi commonplace establishes a connection between two units on a single band. Even a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router connects two units on a single band on a hard and fast channel (the router decides whether or not to join on the 2.4-GHz, 5-GHz, or 6-GHz band).
MLO can mix a number of frequencies throughout bands right into a single connection. A Wi-Fi 7 router can join to a Wi-Fi 7 gadget throughout two or extra channels in several bands concurrently. MLO probably allows wider channels able to transmitting extra information—going again to our freeway analogy, you possibly can ship visitors on the freeway and the superhighway directly.
Speed isn’t at all times the precedence, however MLO additionally permits for extra environment friendly efficiency. A Wi-Fi 7 router can take congestion and different interference under consideration and transmit on the greatest channel to bypass it, switching to preserve a secure connection and low latency. MLO may additionally assist mitigate the comparatively brief vary of the 6-GHz band.