Although it is WiFi 6E still not widespread yet, a show of speed of the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 indicates that it may make Ethernet cables obsolete. Let's take a look at the proposed specifications and what it promises.
What is the Wi-Fi 7? How fast will it be?
Wi-Fi 7 is a new specification for Wi-Fi devices currently under construction. It is based on draft template 802.11be, published in May 2021, which has not yet been finalized or approved by the FCC.
The most striking feature of Wi-Fi 7 is that it can make wired Ethernet connections obsolete for a specific category of both home and business users.
Wi-Fi 7 can theoretically support bandwidth of up to 30 gigabits per second (Gbps) per access point, which is three times faster than the maximum speed of 9,6 Gbps of Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax).
Currently, the commonly available wired Ethernet technology reaches 10 Gbps ( 10GBASE-T ), although it basically does not exist in consumer appliances currently. And although there are higher speeds (like Ethernet terabit) in specialized settings such as data centers, their arrival at home or in small businesses —if it ever happens— it is probably far away.
Thus, for current users of both Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 7 can replace the need for wired connections under optimal conditions.
What else is interesting about Wi-Fi 7?
Aside from the theoretical potential of Wi-Fi 7's incredibly fast speeds, Wi-Fi matching band plans to include other notable improvements to the Wi-Fi standard. Let's see what we know so far:
- Backward compatibility: Draft Wi-Fi 7 sets backward compatibility with older 2,4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, which means you won't need brand new devices or hardware to connect to Wi-Fi 7 .
- 6 GHz: Take full advantage of the new "6 GHz" band (actually 5,925–7,125 GHz), first supported on Wi-Fi 6E. The 6 GHz band is currently occupied only from Wi-Fi applications (although this may change) and its use results in dramatically less interference from the 2,4 GHz or 5 GHz bands.
- Lower delay: Draft Wi-Fi 7 targets 'lower latency and higher reliability' for time sensitive networking (TSN), which is necessary for the cloud computing (and cloud gaming). It is also a critical requirement for replacing wired Ethernet connections.
- MLO: Wi-Fi 7 offers Multi-Link (MLO) function with load balancing and aggregation, combining multiple channels at different frequencies for better performance. This means that a Wi-Fi 7 router will be able to use all available bands and channels dynamically to speed up connections or avoid bands with high interference.
- Upgrades to 802.11ax: According to the draft specification, Wi-Fi 7 will offer immediate improvements to Wi-Fi 6 technologies, such as 320 MHz channel width (from 160 MHz to Wi-Fi 6), which allows faster connections and technology 4096 Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), which allows more data to be stored in each hertz.
When will Wi-Fi 7 be available?
According to a announcement from MediaTek, which claims to have already demonstrated the Wi-Fi 7 maximum speed mentioned above, the productWi-Fi 7 is expected to hit the market in 2023. One article in the IEEE Spectrum states in 2024 as a possible availability date.
In the meantime, you can already buy routers that support Wi-Fi 6 (and Wi-Fi 6E), which is still impressive compared to previous Wi-Fi standards.
Finally for our friends, let's say that Wi-Fi 7 does not have nothing to do with 5G, so do not worry about the effects on their health.