In the ever-evolving landscape of wireless technology, IEEE 802.11be, known as Wi-Fi 7, is the latest amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard. It promises to revolutionize our experience with wireless networking, building on its predecessor, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), and expanding its capabilities significantly.
Key Enhancements of IEEE 802.11be
Increased Throughput: Wi-Fi 7 is expected to achieve a theoretical maximum throughput of 46 Gbit/s, a significant leap from the current standards.
- 4096-QAM (4K-QAM): This modulation technique allows each symbol to carry 12 bits, enhancing transmission rates by 20% over Wi-Fi 6’s 1024-QAM.
- Expanded Bandwidth: Options include contiguous and non-contiguous 320/160+160 MHz and 240/160+80 MHz bandwidths.
- Multi-Link Operation (MLO): This feature enables simultaneous data transmission across multiple frequency bands and channels, reducing latency and increasing capacity.
Multi-Access Point Coordination and Enhanced Link Adaptation.
Integration of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) for low-latency real-time traffic, crucial for applications like audio/video streaming and robust connectivity in bridged networks.
Additional Features: These include improved forward-compatibility frame formats, optimized channel sounding, and support for direct links managed by an access point.
Market and Development
The development of IEEE 802.11be is ongoing, with a final version expected by early 2024. Despite being in the draft phase, products based on Wi-Fi 7 began to emerge in early 2023, highlighting the market’s readiness for this technology. The global Wi-Fi 7 market is projected to grow from 1 billion USD in 2023 to 24.2 billion USD by 2030.
Commercial Deployment and Support
Major companies like Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Intel are leading the charge in Wi-Fi 7 technology, with several devices already incorporating these chips. These include smartphones, routers, and laptops from brands like OnePlus, ASUS, Lenovo, and Google. Support for Wi-Fi 7 is also integrated into Android 13 and higher, as well as in the Linux kernel, ensuring broad compatibility and integration.
IEEE 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7) is set to be a transformative force in wireless networking, offering unprecedented speeds, reduced latency, and enhanced capabilities. Its development reflects the continuous drive for innovation in wireless technology, promising to redefine our connectivity experience in both personal and professional contexts.