Wi-Fi has been with us since 1997, predating Google, the iPhone, and robotic vacuum cleaners. It\u2019s basically a legacy technology!\n\nWi-Fi resources\n\n Test and review of 4 Wi-Fi 6 routers: Who\u2019s the fastest?\n How to determine if Wi-Fi 6 is right for you\nFive questions to answer before deploying Wi-Fi 6\n Wi-Fi 6E: When it\u2019s coming and what it\u2019s good for\n\n\nDespite its maturity, Wi-Fi is always evolving to meet the needs of consumers and enterprises. There have been eight versions of the Wi-Fi network protocol, with the latest (Wi-Fi 6 or, to use its \u201cstreet name,\u201d 802.11ax) being released in 2019. Each iteration has been faster and more reliable than its predecessor, a comforting trend. Three-and-a-half generations (Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6 and 6E) currently are in use.\nSo when can we expect to see Wi-Fi 7? And how much more awesome will it be than Wi-Fi 6? The folks at Intel have definite opinions about this, which you can hear all about in the webinar linked at the end of this post.\nFirst, though, let\u2019s consider how critical Wi-Fi has become to networking. More than half (51%) of total IP traffic will come through Wi-Fi by 2022, Cisco predicts. That\u2019s up from 43% in 2017. Cisco made that prediction before the pandemic; I suspect the huge increase in remote working will push that 51% closer to 60% or even higher. Remember, many millions of workers will not return to an office. They\u2019re permanently remote, and most of them opt for the convenience and mobility of Wi-Fi when doing their jobs at home.\nAdd in the growing number of connected devices--the Internet of Things (IoT)--that need the kind of high bandwidth and low latency that Wi-Fi offers, and it\u2019s clear that digital enterprises would be crippled without Wi-Fi. That is, Wi-Fi capable of handling exponentially greater levels of data and traffic.\nWhich, just to set the record straight, Wi-Fi 6 most assuredly does. As Dr. Carlos Cordeiro, CTO of Wireless Connectivity at Intel said during the webinar, Wi-Fi 6 \u201cprovides four times greater scalability,\u201d better security with WPA3, better interference management with new technologies around OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) and \u201cup to 75% improvements in latency."\nScalability, security, speed: Wi-Fi 6 has got it goin\u2019 on! But there\u2019s always room for improvement, is there not? And that\u2019s where Wi-Fi 7 comes in. A standard for it is already in the works at the IEEE, and is known as P802.11be.\nAs to when it will come in, Cordeiro says in another Intel video that Wi-Fi 7 could be just three years away, which would be way ahead of the six-year pattern for new generations of Wi-Fi.\nIn describing 802.11be, Cordeiro also says Wi-Fi 7 will be up to five times faster than Wi-Fi 6. However, the big upgrade will come from something called Multi-Link Operation (MLO), in which devices can run on multiple channels simultaneously. \u201cMLO provides higher throughput, lower latency and\/or higher reliability, which are useful to a number of applications from VR\/AR to industrial IoT,\u201d according to an Intel slideshow on Wi-Fi 7. And it could support maximum aggregate data rates that are 7.2 times those achievable with Wi-Fi 6.\nWi-Fi 7 could also include coordination features among the access points to help users reach performance goals for their wireless networks.\nMonica Paolini, founder and principal at wireless-technology, analyst, and consulting firm Senza Fili, told Intel webinar attendees that Wi-Fi 7 will be versatile. \u201cThere\u2019s going to be more capacity, again, support for up to 7 gigahertz \u2013 and also for the lower bands as well where you could have some IoT applications like sensors that require less bandwidth,\u201d Paolini said. \u201cSo it's a completely different type of use for Wi-Fi.\u201d\nThe improvements in latency and jitter, she said, \u201cmake the network more deterministic.\u201d\n\u201cThe farther you have lower latency and jitter combined makes the network much more predictable,\u201d Paolini said. \u201cYou know exactly what you should expect from the network. And that's really important for a lot of industrial applications, IoT applications.\u201d\nReliability and predictability are highly valued in any enterprise network. Wi-Fi 7 sounds like just what enterprises need to run their burgeoning networks of connected devices and remote workers. It\u2019ll be great when it gets here, but let\u2019s enjoy Wi-Fi 6 while we can.