Published in Network

New Wi-Fi 7 standard emphases stability

by on02 January 2024

Multi-link operations

When Wi-Fi 7 arrives this year, it will bring with it a new focus on improving its image and this appears to be mostly in the area of stability.

Wi-Fi Alliance boss Kevin Robinson said that Wi-Fi 7’s secret sauce is multi-link operations (MLO), which lets Wi-Fi devices use more than one channel or band at the same time to send and receive data. This means less interference, more speed and better stability.

For those not in the know, Wi-Fi uses three bands - 2.5 gigahertz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. MLO can mix and match them to get the best signal. For example, if one channel is blocked by a neighbour's microwave, MLO can switch to another one or send a backup copy of the data.

Wi-Fi 7 has wider channels, up to 320 megahertz, which means more capacity and more data in less time.

There is a downside to the tech. Wi-Fi uses unlicensed spectrum that might be crowded by other users. That's why Wi-Fi 7 has another trick up its sleeve, called puncturing. This lets Wi-Fi devices squeeze into smaller gaps in the spectrum, instead of being stuck with a narrow channel.

Qualcomm’s  Andy Davidson said: "In the past, if you wanted 320 MHz but there was a 20-MHz blocker in the way, you had to go around it. Now you can go through it."

Wi-Fi 7 is due to launch in early 2024, after the IEEE, the boffins who write the technical standards, give it the thumbs up.

But you won't have to wait that long to get your hands on Wi-Fi 7. Some routers, chips, and other devices are already on the market, and they will get the official stamp of approval when it's ready.

Davidson said companies often use early versions of the standards to make their products, as long as they know what the final specs will be.


Last modified on 03 January 2024
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