Even though the IEEE 802.11be standard is yet to be released officially, there are currently Wi-Fi 7 routers on the market from many major vendors. Wi-Fi 7 provides significantly faster speeds then WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), with ultra-low latencies and a better communication channel. Thereby, more devices can be connected efficiently.
Wi-Fi 7 routers are capable of delivering wireless data transfer speeds of up to 46 Gbps, which is five times greater than that of Wi-Fi 6E routers. Wi-Fi 7 routers can also operate on multiple bands: carrier frequency operation is between 1 and 7.250 GHz while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with legacy IEEE Std 802.11 compliant devices operating in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands. Latency is also lower with a Wi-Fi 7 router and channel connections are more efficient.
Some Wi-Fi 7 routers include the NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-Band WiFi 7 Router BE19000 Wireless Speed, the TP-Link BE9300 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 7 Router ARCHER BE550, and the ASUS BE96U Tri-Band WiFi 7 Router RT-BE96U.
6 GHz Band Controversy:
As of September 2023, the following countries have adopted the policy of making the entire 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use: U.S., South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Peru. Canada has also made 1200 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum available for unlicensed services. The 6 GHz band is the largest allocation of unlicensed spectrum in the US and South Korea.
Some other countries that have enabled Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz band include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, CEPT.
China has chosen a licensed approach for the 6 GHz band, using the entire 1,200 MHz for 5G and future 6G services.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) suggests that the lower end of the 6 GHz spectrum band can be allocated for unlicensed use, such as WiFi, while the upper end can be licensed for telecom use. Netgear said that the India DoT (Department of Telecommunications) is considering to delicense the lower band 6 GHz spectrum.
However, WRC 23 agreed to open up the 6 GHz band for future high-speed mobile communications (instead of for unlicensed WiFi). The 6 GHz band (6.425-7.125 GHz) – was identified for mobile in every ITU Region – EMEA, the Americas and the Asia Pacific. Countries representing more than 60% of the world’s population asked to be included in the identification of this band for licensed mobile at WRC-23. The 6 GHz spectrum is now the harmonized home for the expansion of mobile capacity for 5G-Advanced and beyond.
Comcast has about 22 million Wi-Fi hotspots which are available free of charge for its Comcast Business and Xfinity customers (including this author who has used their WiFi hotspots in Santa Clara, CA and Pacifica, CA).
Xfinity Communities serves about 250,000 properties from multi-dwelling units (MDUs) to single-family communities, assisted living residences, hospitals and college dormitories. Xfinity Communities has six special account managers to handle its top 40-50 largest property owners. Some of the properties it serves are spread out so the company is providing Wi-Fi not just to specific units but also in the lobbies, on the grounds and at the pool, etc.
Although Comcast has the technology to provide Wi-Fi to a whole building without wiring multiple individual units, it seems to prefer the more traditional model. “To serve individuals best you need some kind of wired technology,” said Mike Mancini, director of sales engineering for Xfinity Communities. “Every unit gets wired to make sure we can deliver the highest speeds possible,” he added.
Xfinity Communities can and does wire the dormitory building, but not every individual unit. “We do hook up entire buildings as well, and people don’t have gateways, they have an access point up on the wall. We can provide connectivity both ways, it really depends on the property. We’re very flexible,” Mancini said.
Xfinity Communities serves selected apartment buildings. With pre-installed xFi Gateways in every unit, residents get instant access to WiFi after moving in. They can sign up for Xfinity Internet upon arrival, lease the xFi Gateway, and get connected on the spot — all from the provider of the largest gig-speed network.
Separately, Charter Communications this week announced the availability of its Advanced Wi-Fi for Spectrum Business customers across its 41-state footprint. Charter’s Advanced Wi-Fi includes its Red Dot Design router, which can support up to 200 devices simultaneously. And it includes greater coverage with Spectrum Wi-Fi Pods, which are additional access points for extended Wi-Fi coverage and more consistent speed to all corners of the business.
“Small businesses rely on technology, specifically the Internet and WiFi, to compete in today’s marketplace,” said Dave Rodrian, Group Vice President, WiFi Products, for Charter. “Now, with the launch of Advanced WiFi throughout our footprint, we can offer small and medium-sized businesses faster and more secure WiFi connections, giving them additional control over their network so they can improve their efficiency and productivity.”
More information about Advanced WiFi and other Spectrum Business connectivity services is available here.
Taiwan based MediaTek, one of the first adopters of Wi-Fi 7 [1.] technology, will be demonstrating a full ecosystem of production-ready devices featuring the next generation of wireless connectivity for the first time at CES 2023. These products are the culmination of MediaTek’s investment in Wi-Fi 7 technology, focusing on reliable and always-on connected experiences on a wide variety of devices in several product categories, including residential gateways, mesh routers, televisions, streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.
Note 1. Wi-Fi 7 refers to the IEEE 802.11be standard, whereas Wi-Fi 6 was IEEE 802.11ax, and Wi-Fi 5 was IEEE 802.11ac.
As the most current and powerful Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 7 (IEEE 802.11be) utilizes record-breaking 320MHz channel bandwidth and 4096-QAM modulation to greatly improve overall user experience. Multi-Link Operation (MLO) also enables the Wi-Fi connection to aggregate channel speeds and alleviate link interruption in congested environment for time-demanding applications.
“Last year, we gave the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 technology demonstration, and we are honored to now show the significant progress we have made in building a more complete ecosystem of products,” said Alan Hsu, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intelligent Connectivity Business unit at MediaTek. “This lineup of devices, many of which are powered by the CES 2023 Innovation Award-winning Filogic 880 flagship chipset, illustrates our commitment to providing the best wireless connectivity.”
Using a 6nm process, MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 solution offers a reduction in main power consumption by 50% and 100x lower MLO switch latency when compared to competing options. 4T5R and penta-band mesh are also included to address a larger area of coverage and higher number of linked devices.
The devices on demonstration this week utilize MediaTek’s latest Filogic chips, which combines a Wi-Fi 7 access point technology to broadband operators, retail router channels and enterprise markets; and the Filogic 380 chipset, designed to bring Wi-Fi 7 connectivity to all client devices, including smartphone, tablet, laptops, TVs, and streaming devices.
“We are excited to collaborate with MediaTek on the latest Wi-Fi 7 technology. Fast and reliable wireless connectivity is crucial for consumers, and we believe that combining powerful AMD Ryzen processors with MediaTek’s advanced connectivity technologies will deliver an excellent user experience,” said Jason Banta, corporate vice president and general manager, client OEM at AMD.
“A strong, fast, and reliable Wi-Fi connection is one of the most critical components of competitive gaming, and can mean the difference between winning and losing a match,” said Ouyang Jun, Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Business Segment, Lenovo’s Intelligent Device Group. “MediaTek’s vision for excellence in Wi-Fi connectivity mirrors our own commitment to empowering gamers with immersive, high-performance PC gaming experiences, and we look forward to collaborating together to bring MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 technology to upcoming Lenovo Legion devices.”
“We greatly enjoy MediaTek Filogic’s, fast, reliable and always-on connected Wi-Fi solution,” said Rangoon Chang, head of Gaming Business Unit, ASUS. “With MediaTek’s world leading Wi-Fi technology and innovative ecosystem, we strive for leadership in providing the extreme experience for gamers around the globe.”
“With the introduction of 320 MHz channels in the 6 GHz band and Multi-Link Operation (MLO), Wi-Fi 7 will deliver ultra-high speed and lower latency,” said Pingji Li, VP & GM, TP-Link Corporation Limited. “MediaTek Filogic 880’s innovative design delivers outstanding performance on top of Wi-Fi 7 standards, such as 4×5 6 GHz and single-chip MLO. We are excited to collaborate with our longtime partner, MediaTek, on Wi-Fi 7 to create new ways for customers to experience applications.”
“As a leader in networking products and services for more than 23 years, BUFFALO has always been among the first to implement new Wi-Fi technology, and Wi-Fi 7 is no exception,” said Nobuhiro Tamura, General Manager, Network Product Development Division, BUFFALO INC. “We are glad to see MediaTek put a lot of investment in leading technology, and would like to congratulate them on showcasing the latest Wi-Fi 7 solutions at CES 2023.”
“Today’s consumers want fast, reliable and always-on connected Wi-Fi for many applications such as video calls, 4K/8K TV entertainment, real-time gaming, streaming and more,” said Byung-Kyun Kim, Senior Vice President, Korea Telecom. “MediaTek Wi-Fi 7 technology is equipped with extremely high throughput and single MAC MLO (Multi-Link Operation), which can fulfill every demanding application consumers enjoy today.”
“With MediaTek’s single chip MLO technology, we can bring high throughput and low latency performance to enhance user experience on streaming, gaming, and various immersive contents,” said Mr. Yu, SVP in Hisense Group. “Hisense is excited to continue the partnership with MediaTek to bring Wi-Fi 7 on Hisense TV products.”
“MediaTek recognizes the demand and expectation for the fastest speeds and lowest latency from wireless devices,” said John O’Neill, Vice President, Marketing, Skyworks. “Together, our joint reference design provides customers a platform to develop new and unimagined applications. We are excited to deliver cutting-edge technology together that allows consumers to realize the full potential of Wi-Fi 7 that supports 320 MHz channels, 4K QAM and Multi-Link Operation (MLO).”
“As a strong driver of Wi-Fi 7, MediaTek helps its customers harness the massive improvements in throughput, latency, client connections and reliability,” said Tony Testa, General Manager Connectivity Components, Qorvo. “We are excited to utilize MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 7 solution in order to tackle its impressive 4K QAM, 320 MHz, 6 GHz channels and Multi-Link Operation.”
“As companies move to Wi-Fi 7 it is critical that they be able to test the fastest available data rate modes, and we have worked with MediaTek to create an industry leading test solution that meets this vital need,” said John Lukez, Vice President LitePoint Applications, Litepoint. “As we head into this new era of wireless connectivity, working with a leading Wi-Fi innovator like MediaTek will enable our mutual customers to quickly and seamlessly ramp their products into high volume production.”
“We are truly impressed with MediaTek’s speed to market with almost every cutting-edge technology, such as single MAC MLO, 320MHz BW and 4096 QAM,” said Jesse Lyles, Vice President of Semiconductor Validation and Electronics Solutions, NI. “The increased amount of complexity needed to achieve top performance and backward compatibility with Wi-Fi 7 drastically increases the need for a full-scale automated test and validation solution. NI works together with MediaTek with its software-connected RF instrumentation to achieve the time-to-market goals of mutual customers and to ensure their superior performance capabilities.”
To learn more about MediaTek’s Filogic portfolio, please visit: https://www.mediatek.com/products/networking-and-connectivity/.
About MediaTek Inc.
MediaTek Incorporated is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables nearly 2 billion connected devices a year. We are a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables. MediaTek empowers and inspires people to expand their horizons and achieve their goals through smart technology, more easily and efficiently than ever before. We work with the brands you love to make great technology accessible to everyone, and it drives everything we do. Visit www.mediatek.com for more information.
Intel and Broadcom held what they say is the industry’s first cross–vendor demonstration of Wi–Fi 7 [1.], with over-the-air speeds above 5 Gbps. The trial used an Intel® Core™ processor-based laptop with a Wi-Fi 7 solution connected to a Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 access point.
Note 1. Wi-Fi 7 is the 7th generation WiFi standard or IEEE 802.11be. The official IEEE 802.11be title is “Standard for Information technology–Telecommunications and information exchange between systems Local and metropolitan area networks–Specific requirements – Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications. Amendment: Enhancements for Extremely High Throughput (EHT).” The scope of this standard is to define one medium access control (MAC) and several physical layer (PHY) specifications for wireless connectivity for fixed, portable, and moving stations (STAs) within a local area. The purpose of this standard is to provide wireless connectivity for fixed, portable, and moving stations within a local area. This standard also offers regulatory bodies a means of standardizing access to one or more frequency bands for the purpose of local area. It is dependent on IEEE802.11ax, often referred to as WiFi 6 or 6E.
In summary, WiFi 7 is an extremely high throughput wireless network that uses 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, and 6Ghz frequency bands. Wi-Fi 7 leverages advanced technology to maximize overall capacity, decrease latency and increase speed to every device.
“We are proud to highlight how next-generation Wi-Fi 7 can make new mobile PC experiences possible. Industry collaboration is essential to ensure we deliver on the promises of this new wireless technology. We would like to thank our colleagues at Broadcom for their great technical cooperation, which helped enable this unprecedented, first-of-its-kind demonstration of ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency Wi-Fi 7,” said Carlos Cordeiro, Intel Fellow and Wireless CTO, Client Computing Group, Intel.
Vijay Nagarajan, vice president, Wireless Connectivity Division, Broadcom, said, “Today’s milestone sends a clear message: the ecosystem is ready and Wi-Fi 7 is here to deliver extraordinary capacity and blazing fast speeds to extend gigabit broadband. The reliable, low latency communication provided by Wi-Fi 7 is a key element of Broadcom’s vision for connecting everything as the Internet evolves to its next iteration replete with immersive experiences. Industry collaboration is key to making this unprecedented connectivity a reality and we were delighted to work with Intel to achieve another industry first.”
Wi-Fi 7 is the platform for the next 10 years of wireless experiences, which require higher speeds, lower latency, improved reliability and greater capacity. Wi-Fi 7 leverages new features including wider 320 MHz channels in unlicensed 6GHz spectrum, higher order 4K QAM data modulation, simultaneous connections across multiple bands with multi-link operation and improved channel utilization efficiency with multi-resource unit puncturing.
Wi-Fi 7’s deterministic operation enables new product classes, including augmented and virtual reality, ultra-high-definition 16K media streaming, and super-responsive and reliable gaming, while supporting large numbers of connected devices in the home or office. And with Wi-Fi 7’s greatly increased speeds, broadband subscribers will get full value from their multi-gigabit internet plans.
“Wi-Fi 7 is the most powerful and capable Wi-Fi protocol yet and will allow Wi-Fi to continue to serve the most demanding applications in the consumer and vertical markets with the highest level of determinism yet,” said Phil Solis, Research Director, Connectivity at IDC. “Interoperability testing between Intel and Broadcom will enable the development of products that can be used in the test beds for official Wi-Fi Alliance certification testing.”
Intel and Broadcom provide the full network that is essential to help maximize Wi-Fi 7’s potential and deliver end-to-end experiences to the wider Wi-Fi marketplace.
“As longtime WBA board members, Broadcom and Intel have been instrumental in pioneering Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. Now they’re leading the way again with Wi-Fi 7, which leverages the rapidly growing availability of 6 GHz spectrum in multiple countries across APAC, EMEA, Latin America and the U.S. Their successful trial is a milestone toward bringing Wi-Fi 7’s double-digit gigabit speeds, ultra-low latency, carrier-grade resilience and other next-generation capabilities to consumers and businesses worldwide. Enterprise and residential networks will also greatly benefit from the advanced capabilities of Wi-Fi 7,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
Broadcom and Intel say they will continue to show the additional capabilities of Wi-Fi 7.
WHAT DOES QUALCOMM HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WIFI 7?
“Qualcomm Technologies’ Wi-Fi 7 solutions push the boundaries of what Wi-Fi can do, with enhanced speeds, latency and network capacity plus support for advanced features like 320MHz channels, 4K QAM and advanced multi-link implementations such as High Band Simultaneous Multi-Link.”
Qualcomm Technologies has announced its first Wi-Fi 7 chip, the FastConnect 7800. Bundling the latest Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and Bluetooth specifications, the new chip is sampling already and expected to be available for commercial products in the second half of 2022. Qualcomm said this should be the first Wi-Fi 7 chip to launch commercially, pending the start of certification of Wi-Fi 7 products.
Wi-Fi 7, also known as IEEE 802.11be, is still in development so has not yet been approved as an IEEE standard. It includes features like 4k QAM, 320MHz channel bandwidth, and multi-link capabilities. Though, as with every standard, implementation is where truly differentiated performance is achieved. For example, multi-link can be implemented with simultaneous links or alternating links. Further, one of those links may be implemented using the narrow and congested 2.4GHz band (which could otherwise be reserved for Bluetooth or IoT devices). Design choices such as these will dictate how well your next devices will be able to harness Wi-Fi 7 speed and latency benefits, so Qualcomm Technologies’ approach is to offer a flexible solution that will include all the options.
Qualcomm said it expects the WiFi 7 system to deliver peak speeds up to 5.8Gbps, via single 320MHz or paired 160MHz channels, falling to 4.3Gbps when the 6GHz band is not be available. Latency should be less than 2ms.
One of the key features of the new system is High Band Simultaneous (HBS) Multi-Link technology. This simultaneously leverages two Wi-Fi radios for four streams of high band connectivity in the 5GHz and/or 6GHz bands. These connections can deliver the highest throughput and lowest sustained latency, while reserving high-traffic 2.4GHz spectrum for Bluetooth and lower-bandwidth Wi-Fi applications.
In addition, the new chip extends 4-Stream Dual-Band Simultaneous (DBS) into the high bands. This builds on Qualcomm’s 4-Stream DBS (2×2 + 2×2) with 5 and/or 6GHz Wi-Fi links used in concert for extreme low latency performance between access point and client or independently for multi-client scenarios. For instance, a mobile device connecting to a Wi-Fi 6/6E access point (for 2×2 backhaul in high band spectrum) can concurrently connect to an XR headset (for 2×2 fronthaul also in high band spectrum), free from the low bandwidth and congestion of the 2.4GHz band.
Qualcomm also promises high-quality Bluetooth audio with the new chip, which includes support for Snapdragon Sound. Its Intelligent Dual Bluetooth offers two radios with enhanced connections, enabling Bluetooth accessories to work up to twice the range, to pair in half the time, and speed up changing a Bluetooth connection between devices, according to the company.
Special attention was given to ensure that FastConnect 7800 maintains compatibility with all prior generation devices. Whatever generation of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth being used, FastConnect 7800 is built to provide the best connectivity. Sampling is already underway, with commercial availability rolling out in the second half of 2022.
At the launch at MWC, several companies including Honor, Meta, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo said they plan to use the new chip in future products.