September 28, 2022



What’s the distinction between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7?

4 min read

As a wi-fi neighborhood architect, I’m merely starting to deploy Wi-Fi 6E inside the enterprise wi-fi LAN setting. That is taken under consideration bleeding edge correct now. At the moment, not many Wi-Fi 6E buyers may be discovered and most distributors transport first-generation 6E entry components are hoping the Wi-Fi experience lives as a lot because the promoting and advertising and marketing hype.

But, in some strategies, 6E’s shine is already dimming a bit as its successor, Wi-Fi 7, generates some buzz and the IEEE continues down the occasion path. So, let’s uncover Wi-Fi 7, the way in which it should differ from Wi-Fi 6E — and Wi-Fi 6 for that matter — and after we are able to depend on it to show right into a actuality.

Bear in mind, though, that 6, 6E and 7 mustn’t official wi-fi LAN necessities, nonetheless fairly nomenclatures of consolation adopted by the Wi-Fi Alliance. After we use the IEEE-given customary numbers, 6 and 6E are every 802.11ax and Wi-Fi 7 is 802.11be.

What’s Wi-Fi 7?

Proper now, Wi-Fi 7, or 802.11be, is an IEEE wi-fi customary in development. It’s a lot ample alongside that we are going to concentrate on its choices and anticipated effectivity. However keep in mind the perfect end of the specs are always theoretical, and real-world expertise is normally significantly decrease than these top-end numbers.

This shouldn’t be distinctive to Wi-Fi 7, by any stretch. Look once more at 802.11n, ac and ax as completely different necessities that on no account pretty achieved their most theoretical effectivity limits, nonetheless each continues to be far more spectacular than its predecessor. Such is the reality of 802.11 necessities.

Additionally like each customary sooner than it, Wi-Fi 7 ensures lower latency and dramatically bigger throughput. With acknowledged latency beneath 5 milliseconds and the potential for throughput correctly above 30 Gbps, Wi-Fi 7 is touted as a pending enabler for every kind of current digital actuality and augmented actuality features. Sounds superior, correct? Simply don’t forget that point interval theoretical as we get nearer to Wi-Fi 7. The brand new Wi-Fi customary may be slick, nonetheless we’ll moreover uncover why most buyers will sometimes get far a lot much less throughput in a second.

As with Wi-Fi 6E that added help for the spectrum-rich 6 GHz band to 802.11ax, Wi-Fi 7 may be “tri-band” and work in 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz frequency bands. The 802.11be customary introduces a robust set of current choices to the Wi-Fi home, along with the subsequent:

  • considerably enhanced modulation — a whopping 4096 quadrature amplitude modulation versus 1024 QAM for Wi-Fi 6;
  • help for as a lot as 16 spatial streams; and
  • 320 MHz channel widths, which sounds fantastical when you concentrate on most of us run 20 or 40 MHz giant channels even in Wi-Fi 6.

Considered one of most likely essentially the most spectacular capabilities in Wi-Fi 7 is multi-link operation (MLO), which allows transmission between the entry stage and the patron on completely completely different radios if radio frequency conditions allow it — like every your 6 GHz and 5 GHz radios are in use for info transmission on the similar time. That could be a actual first inside the common 802.11 evolution.

Even though Wi-Fi 7 helps 16×16 quite a few enter, quite a few output, most mobile shopper items are anticipated to stay in 2×2 configurations at best for the foreseeable future. So, if it takes 16 streams and 320 MHz giant channels to get to the extreme end of Wi-Fi 7 effectivity, it’s assured that the majority Wi-Fi 7 buyers will solely have the ability to a fraction of that almost all. However, even so, the improved perform set of 802.11be means your smartphone may get real-world throughputs above 5 Gbps.

There’s additional magic beneath the hood of Wi-Fi 7, nonetheless these are the merely digested highlights.

Wi-Fi 7 vs. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6 has been out prolonged ample to be in use in numerous large manufacturing environments along with having respectable adoption inside the shopper wi-fi router home. Wi-Fi 6E is just getting started with enterprise deployments, and the current present chain woes aren’t serving to its sluggish progress.

Although 6 and 6E are every 802.11ax, they get dealt with as significantly distinctive in promoting and advertising and marketing offered that 6E makes use of the massive 6 GHz band. All three bands require Wi-Fi Protected Entry 3 (WPA3) for security. Let’s consider 6, 6E and 7 inside the desk beneath.

Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi 7
IEEE customary 802.11ax 802.11ax 802.11be
Spectrum used, GHz 2.4, 5 2.4, 5, 6 2.4, 5, 6
Spatial streams max 8 8 16
MLO No No Sure
Knowledge value max (theoretical) 9.6 9.6 30+
Required security WPA3 WPA3 WPA3

When will Wi-Fi 7 be on the market?

You possibly can adjust to the IEEE’s progress on Wi-Fi 7 right here. Proper now, ratification is predicted in early 2024. Even when this date stays official, pre-standard gear usually ships to early adopters. So, there’s a chance we could even see early instruments in late 2023.

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