Enter Wi-Fi 7
As we’ve discussed, the older Wi-Fi standards are struggling to keep pace in the gigabit era. But there is hope that the new generation of Wi-Fi 7 equipment that’s emerging on to the market in 2023 will significantly close that gap between the speed coming into the router and the speed reaching wireless devices in the home.
In 2021, the arrival of Wi-Fi 6E equipment allowed routers to access a new allocation of spectrum in the 6GHz band. Qualcomm makes the chipsets for several of the world’s leading Wi-Fi router manufacturers, and the company’s senior director of technology planning, Andy Davidson, explains what that meant in terms of bandwidth. “Wi-Fi built its initial success with just three 20MHz channels at 2.4GHz,” said Andy. “With 5GHz, there was enough extra spectrum added that you could get at least three 80MHz channels everywhere, and that gave four times the speed. And then in some regions, such as the US, you had enough for three 160MHz channels, doubling the speed again.”
The availability of the 6GHz band has given speeds a further boost. “With 6GHz, we get enough for three 160MHz channels in every region that supports it, and then in the US, enough for three 320MHz channels.
Wi-Fi 7 routers are coming on to the market
Wi-Fi 7 is the first generation specifically designed to take advantage of 6GHz and that extra spectrum, so it includes those 320MHz channels.”
Fatter channels aren’t the only performance advantage being delivered with Wi-Fi 7. “There’s advanced coding techniques to also improve the speed,” said Andy. “There are adaptive connections – they can work around interference and congestion, so you get that high throughput under all conditions, regardless of where you are.”