Poised To Revolutionize Wireless Connectivity
6 mins read

Poised To Revolutionize Wireless Connectivity

Mark N. Vena, CEO and Principal Analyst, SmartTech Research.


The world of wireless connectivity can feel like navigating an “alphabet soup” of confusing technical terms, especially regarding wireless standards. This journey started with 802.11a, one of the early wireless standards. Introduced in 1999, 802.11a offered faster speeds than the prevalent standard at the time, 802.11b, by operating in the 5 GHz band instead of the 2.4 GHz band. However, the “802.11x” naming convention doesn’t directly tell you this crucial information.

This “alphabet soup” continued with subsequent standards like 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), and the upcoming but yet-to-be-released 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7). While moving to the Wi-Fi “X” nomenclature has improved things a bit since most users tend to understand that a “higher” spec number inherently implies better performance, it does nothing to tell you what that improvement is explicitly. Here’s what tech and business leaders need to know about Wi-Fi and the potential impact on the tech industry.

Confusion About Wireless Standards Reigns With Users

This lack of clear and descriptive names can lead to confusion and even cynicism among businesses and consumers. It’s difficult to understand each standard’s relative speed, range, and features, making it hard to choose the right option for specific needs. This dynamic can lead to frustration and a feeling that the naming system is designed to be obscure rather than informative.

This situation is unfortunate as the world has become increasingly reliant on wireless connectivity, with the demand for faster and more reliable internet access reaching unprecedented levels. As technology evolves, so too do our wireless standards.

What’s The Big Deal About Wi-Fi 7?

One of the most significant aspects of Wi-Fi 7 is its potential for faster data transfer rates. Compared to its predecessor, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 7 boasts theoretical maximum speeds of over 40 Gbps, four times faster than Wi-Fi 6’s roughly 10 Gbps. This increase in speed could translate to a noticeable difference in everyday activities, allowing users to download large files, like high-resolution videos or games, in seconds. In addition, Wi-Fi facilitates the seamless streaming of high-definition content: Streaming high-quality video content, including 4K and even 8K resolutions, is expected to be smooth and uninterrupted, even with multiple devices connected simultaneously.

Moreover, online gaming could experience reduced latency offered by Wi-Fi 7, as it aims to minimize lags and ensures a more responsive and immersive experience (particularly in households where multiple users are playing online games).

Secondly, attractive enhanced capacity and efficiency attributes make Wi-Fi 7 attractive as it tackles the growing problem of congested networks by introducing several key features that improve capacity and efficiency. Multiple-link operation (MLO) technology utilizes multiple channels simultaneously, creating a more expansive “data highway” for increased data transmission capacity. Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), similar to cellular networks, assigns specific frequency slices to different devices, reducing interference and improving efficiency, especially in crowded environments like apartment buildings or office spaces. Finally, target wake time (TWT) allows devices to schedule specific times to communicate with the router, minimizing unnecessary data transmission and saving battery life for connected devices.

These advancements ensure that even in densely populated areas with numerous devices connected, Wi-Fi 7 could more efficiently manage network traffic, providing a smooth and reliable connection for everyone. As our reliance on wireless connectivity grows, so too do security concerns. Wi-Fi 7 is set to incorporate the latest security protocols.

Projected Applications In Tech

Wi-Fi 7 could have the potential to lay the groundwork for future advancements in wireless technology and connectivity. For example, Qualcomm has recently introduced FastConnect 7900 capability, which should surface in devices later this year. This new ingredient technology integrates Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth and ultra-wideband (UWB) technologies enabling features like high-fidelity audio streaming, seamless proximity-based applications, and secure device connection.

For example, Wi-Fi 7’s projected increased capacity and lower latency could be crucial for supporting the growth of technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which require high-bandwidth and low-latency connections for a seamless user experience.

Wi-Fi 7 could provide a boost to the smart home phenomenon. The Internet of Things (IoT) could experience growth in the coming years due to Wi-Fi 7’s potential to efficiently manage numerous connected devices, which is essential for ensuring smooth operation in smart homes filled with interconnected appliances and devices.

Potential Road Blocks And Challenges

Wi-Fi 7, despite its promise of blazing fast speeds and improved performance, faces several challenges in adoption. One non-trivial hurdle is the need for compatible devices and infrastructure upgrades, which can be costly and time-consuming for consumers and businesses.

Additionally, there might be confusion among users about the benefits and compatibility of Wi-Fi 7, primarily if they have recently invested in Wi-Fi 6 technology.

Moreover, regulatory hurdles, spectrum availability and interoperability issues could also slow the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi 7. While the potential benefits could be significant, overcoming these challenges will be essential for the successful and rapid adoption of Wi-Fi 7.

Some Closing Thoughts

By laying the foundation for future technologies, Wi-Fi 7 positions itself as a potential driver of innovation and progress in the ever-evolving world of wireless connectivity. Overall, Wi-Fi could lead to a future of faster, more efficient and secure wireless connectivity by understanding how users connect to various devices in their homes, which could be highly compelling in home office environments.

The arrival of Wi-Fi 7 could be a significant step forward in wireless technology. With its potential for blazing-fast speeds, enhanced capacity and efficiency, and improved security, this technology could pave the way for future advancements. Wi-Fi 7 could impact how we connect to the world around us, ushering in a new era of seamless, reliable and secure wireless experiences—assuming manufacturers take the time (and commit the marketing spend) to properly and message these benefits to users.

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