Multilink technology and big spectrum gains will drive Wi-Fi 7

Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) will take advantage of the 6GHz spectrum recently allocated to unlicensed wireless technology.

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Even as businesses continue to make the move to Wi-Fi 6, standards bodies and contributor companies are hard at work creating Wi-Fi 7, or 802.11be, the next generation of Wi-Fi technology that promises even greater capabilities than the latest in unlicensed wireless tech.

A combination of new technologies focused on efficient spectrum usage and the recent FCC decision to make a huge swath of the airwaves available to Wi-Fi will push Wi-Fi 7’s peak throughput numbers as high as 40Gbit/s in certain configurations.

Dorothy Stanley is the chair of the IEEE SA 802.11 working group. She said that the focus of the new standard is extremely high throughput, which is accomplished, in large part, by the wider channels enabled by the new availability of  6GHz spectrum (5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz).

“If you look at the channels that are used over the air, they’re usually multiples of 20[MHz],” Stanley said. “What’s new in [Wi-Fi 7] is the definition of a 320MHz-wide channel. Due to the availability of spectrum, the ability to use that is only really in the 6GHz band.”

The potential for 40Gbit/s speeds will only be realized with those 320MHz-wide channels that reside in the 6GHz band, but Wi-Fi 7 will also operate on 2.4GHz and 5GH frequencies, just like earlier generations of Wi-Fi. The goal for general-use Wi-Fi 7 is 30Gbit/s, Stanley said.

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