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Wi-Fi Alliance Officially Certifies Kit for New Wi-Fi 7 Standard

Monday, Jan 8th, 2024 (5:34 pm) - Score 2,560
wifi uk internet security

The Wi-Fi Alliance has today official begun certification for the next generation of Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) capable wireless networking devices. The new Wi-Fi 7 standard is expected to “see rapid adoption“, with more than 233 million devices predicted to enter the market in 2024 alone. Just don’t expect to see those dizzy speed claims of 46Gbps in the real-world.

At present most UK consumers have yet to even adopt kit that supports the current Wi-Fi 6E standard (i.e. 802.11ax with support for the 6GHz band), which is to say nothing of the Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 (some additional enhancements) standard that is even further behind in the adoption cycle. But that hasn’t stopped the rapid development of Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be – Extremely High Throughput) technology (example).

In theory, the new standard might be able to achieve a theoretical peak data speed of around 40-46Gbps (Gigabits per second) in your local network, but history tells us that real-world experiences will probably fall considerably below that level (real-world peaks of 5-6Gbps are more realistic) – due to various factors like distance from access point, signal obstructions, power levels, spectrum allocations, antenna design and interference from other networks.

Nevertheless, shifting Wi-Fi 7 into certification marks the start of major market adoption (credits to The Wee Bear for spotting), with many companies appearing to skip some of Wi-Fi 6’s evolutions in favour of a jump directly to Wi-Fi 7. The new standard naturally includes many useful enhancements, which helps to explain the attraction.

Key Wi-Fi 7 Advancements

➤ Multi-Link Operation (MLO) that enables devices to both simultaneously transmit and receive across different bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz) and channels. Wi-Fi 6 could already harness several links simultaneously, but these links are usually independent, and MLO seeks to change that in order to make efficient use of the channel resources.

➤ Channel size of up to 320MHz (up from 160MHz with Wi-Fi 6)

➤ Support for 4096-QAM (Quadrature amplitude modulation) OFDMA (up from 1024-QAM)

➤ Support for 16×16 Multi-User, Multiple-input, Multiple-output (MU-MIMO) technology (up from 8xX UL/DL MU-MIMO).

➤ 512 Compressed block-ack: improves efficiency and reduces overhead

➤ Multiple RUs to a single STA: improves flexibility for spectrum resource scheduling to enhance spectrum efficiency

➤ Triggered Uplink Access: optimizes Wi-Fi 6 defined triggered uplink access to accommodate latency sensitive streams and satisfy QoS requirements

➤ Emergency Preparedness Communication Services (EPCS): provides a seamless National Security & Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) service experience to users while maintaining the priority and quality of service in Wi-Fi access networks

NOTE: Wi-Fi 7 could also enable the use of additional spectrum bands between the 1Ghz and 7GHz+ range, but that will very much depend upon future availability and regulation of such bands. For now it’s limited to the same bands as Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz).

Companies including Broadcom, CommScope RUCKUS Networks, Intel, MaxLinear, MediaTek, and Qualcomm form the test bed for certification and are home to some of the first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7 devices and chipsets.

Kevin Robinson, President and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance, said:

“The introduction of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7 marks the emergence of the latest generation of Wi-Fi and will be an accelerant to mass adoption of Wi-Fi 7. This certification underscores our relentless commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology that redefines the way users experience Wi-Fi, providing faster speeds, improved efficiency, and increased reliability which expand the horizons of what is possible through Wi-Fi.”

In terms of adoption within the UK, particularly among broadband ISPs, we’re already expecting to see early WiFi 7 capable routers from EE (BT) sometime during the first half of 2024 (here) and YouFibre (Netomnia) have hinted to ISPreview that they may do a WiFi 7 router before even that. The latter would make perfect sense given the existence of their 7-8Gbps FTTP broadband plans. No doubt other ISPs will follow suit before the year is out.

However, the usual caveats apply to the new standard, which means that you won’t gain any benefit from Wi-Fi 7 in the home until both your router and any connected devices can harness the new standard. The first generation of Wi-Fi 7 capable routers and devices are also likely to be extremely expensive and power hungry, although over time the chipsets do tend to improve, and it will quickly find its way into more efficient and affordable forms.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
20 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    I wonder how many providers will bring out routers that support this and now produce more waste with the old routers being dumped.

    I am certainly not going to go out and buy a new router, even if I got hardware that supported this Wi-fi 7. I tend to keep my routers until they either break down or they don’t do the job for other reasons

    We tend to chuck so much electrical stuff away for no reason, just to get the new shiny thing.

    1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      Thank you Adrian for the daily instalment of “things that you aren’t interested in buying”

    2. Avatar photo Krabs says:

      @Jonny – In yesterday’s edition of “things that you aren’t interested in buying”, his mate had a BMW that a salesman said was cheaper to run than a Tesla. He also read it on a forum, so it must be true. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s edition!

    3. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      Well first of all, I’d expect most ISPs to be slow and stingy when it comes to new CPE. Chances are these will initially just be for new customers, higher tier packages, contract renewals, etc. With the older hardware remaining in circulation for a while.

      Second, just because the newer hardware is ‘a waste’ for you, doesn’t mean that it wont be for others. In my case, upgrading both my WAPs and the Wifi card in my laptop produced noticeably improved speed/reliability. This was an issue for me as I regularly used the machine for large file downloads and LAN transfers.

      Note: whilst I upgrade, I try not to throw out equipment either, either keeping them as spares or for niche stuff e.g. older Wifi standards.

    4. Avatar photo Danny says:

      If digital waste is a concern buy Asus routers, basically because you can then buy a newer one and use your old one as a WiFi mesh node. It’s a way they do it to help combat e-Waste which I thinks a clever way of doing it. I for one am interested in waiting for the Ubiquiti WiFi AP’s because I’m planning on wiring my house up and the inwalls with 4 ethernet jacks too are perfect but I’m hoping for WiFi 7 varieties soon.

    5. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @tech3475, I am not saying never buy one, if someone has an old router a few years old, then yes they may get something out of going for a new router, but only if the devices they have will take advantage of it.
      But so many people think they need the newest router and yet they will see none or little difference,
      Replacing a 6E router with a wifi 7 routers is not going to make much of a difference if any for most people, even if they have the devices that makes full use of it, which they won’t for a while anyway.

      @Krabs, who ever you are, you are an idiot,

    6. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      @Ad47uk

      Maybe you should have discussed things like this in your opening post, even then, much of what I said still applies.

      I’m doubtful WiFi 7 will be a ‘hot must buy’ feature with the general public like the latest smartphone, although I’m sure ISPs will push it in marketing for higher tier packages. Even then you’re making presumptions like they’re all on 6E, of course you’re going to have a niche that will like ‘tech bros’, YouTubers, etc.

  2. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    I would happily upgrade but it ISPs still give us WiFi 5 devices. I doubt we’ll see WiFi 7 hubs anytime this year.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      You can use access points that aren’t provided by your ISP. You do not have to use wifi from your router, then you can use whatever you want. It’s just not “free”.

  3. Avatar photo MRLeeds says:

    I wonder if Vodafone will jump straight to this, their stock Wifi 5 router is shockingly poor and outdated now, fine maybe for fttc, but a joke to provide it still for 900mbps fttp.

    1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      Vodafone already have a Wi-Fi 6E router on their Pro plans, there is no “jumping straight to” involved.

  4. Avatar photo berkshire says:

    “Just don’t expect to see those dizzy speed claims of 46Gbps in the real-world”

    This x 10000.

    I get 1.2 gigabit on 5G.
    I have WiFi 6E equipment which is allegedly 3200mbit
    Maximum speed I can get, with either one or multiple devices, on 6E?
    700mbit.

    So yeah, I hate it when they lie. This is with 6E wifi card, 6E routers, 2.5Gbit ethernet between the wifi AP and the router, and testing in the same room, to a 10Gbit server that I can get the full 1.2Gbit to wired.

    WiFi is full of snakeoil and broken promises.

    1. Avatar photo Marc says:

      I use the deco xe75 on a movistar 1Gbs line and get 970Mbs wifi at 5M and 709Mbs plus at 50M

    2. Avatar photo André says:

      It’s a shared medium with everyone in range who is also using WiFi. You left out the bit whether you’re in a flat, in a detached home with no neighbours, etc.

      You do have a valid point, though, it very rarely lives up to the maximum speed expectation for any one single user.

      That’s why I prefer to have wired Ethernet whenever possible and only use WiFi on devices that have to be portable.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      He said he was in the same room as the AP. Why does it matter what kind of property he lives in? If you’re standing next to an AC3200 router, and it’s only doing 700mbit, then something is wrong. Have you tried using iPerf OP ? you run iPerf on a server and say a laptop (or even a phone) and the laptop/phone are on WiFi and then it will show you what speed you can actually obtain over the WiFi (not internet)

    4. Avatar photo André says:

      I makes a difference because if he’s in a flat with 5 or 6 more wireless devices all broadcasting nearby then it doesn’t really matter how close you are to your own router, there will be a performance penalty.

  5. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    I look forward to saturating it with my 35Mb connection! Jokes aside I’m still sure it’ll be useful one day soon enough. These things always move forward.

    1. Avatar photo Danny says:

      WiFi 7’s big stick isn’t necessarily faster speeds but better aggregation and stability of the 6ghz band. Although it does advertise faster speeds as obviously the general Joe public only see the bigger numbers as been better.

  6. Avatar photo William Wilkinson says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to Mark Jackson, I really enjoy this website.

  7. Avatar photo Alex says:

    This is misleading as the “WiFi Alliance” are not responsible for WiFi ratification, they are entirely independent of the actual WiFi standards so can only claim their products are compatible with each other, not the actual WiFi 7 standard.

    Its highly advisable that nobody even think of buying WiFi 7 routers/access points until later this year and potentially next year, once the standard is actually officially IEEE ratified.

Comments are closed

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