Wi-Fi 7 brings far reaching and innovative changes; in particular, the benefits of multi-AP capabilities stand out.
In 2023, Wi-Fi 7 will be introduced with new capabilities that will make it more suitable for demanding services like AR, VR, and the Metaverse. One way of looking at the evolution to Wi-Fi 7 is to think of it as shifting from single-lane roads with traffic lights at each junction, to faster and bigger multi-lane highways with off and on ramps seamlessly moving you from one fast highway to the next.
The new Wi-Fi 7 capabilities will increase the maximum connection speed to 46Gbps, reduce communication latency, and enhance connection reliability. It is expected that Wi-Fi 7 will continue to dominate in its main markets of home, office, and enterprise, whereas mobile, will continue to dominate in the big geographic spaces and those with significant interference issues Finally, there will be strong competition between Wi-Fi and mobile in mid-sized spaces like airports, venues, and factories, where Wi-Fi has historically dominated.
The evolution of Wi-Fi is controlled by two international bodies, IEEE (for standards) and Wi-Fi Alliance (for compliance). Each new version is generally backward compatible, and new generations are well-adopted by the industry. Wi-Fi 7 is expected to have a specification ready for production in May 2023, with minimal changes expected in the final version by May 2024. Compatible devices have already been released in 2023.
Wi-Fi 7 introduces several new features that offer significant improvements over previous versions. These features include multi-link aggregation, bigger channels, multi-band congestion avoidance, multi-AP data transfer, multi-AP mobility, roaming compatibility, enhanced sensing, and restricted targeted wait time. These improvements will help deliver high-quality video, and they will better serve AR and VR applications that require high throughput and low latency. With more channels, Wi-Fi 7 helps to address the congestion issues that Wi-Fi 6 and earlier version suffered from. These will particularly benefit locations with high densities of end-user devices such as stadiums and enterprise premises.
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