The characteristics of the new Wi-Fi 7 standard have been announced

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12:27 GMT

The new 802.11be wireless protocol, already known as Wi-Fi 7, would have data exchange rates in principle of up to 46 Gbps and in reality of up to 30 Gbps. It is predicted that the final edition of the standard will arrive in 2024, but the main technical requirements are already known.

In four years , new Wi-Fi

The IEEE 802.1 Networking Standards Working Group has issued specifications for the final requirements for defining the 802.11be wireless protocol of the next decade. It is expected that the specification will be commercially called Wi-Fi 7 by the time of the publication of the final edition, planned for mid-2024, and that the first evaluations of the consumer devices of the new standard will begin by the end of 2024.

The Wi-Fi 7 standard, which will replace next year’s existing Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, aims to provide higher data speeds with lower latency, increased energy conservation, and more efficient cancellation of interference. By backward compatibility with previous versions, a seamless transition to the next generation of smartphones would be assured.

It is expected that due to numerous improvements in wireless communication technologies – including doubling the channel width, doubling their number, and others, the new standard will be able to provide data transfer rates up to a theoretical 46 Gbps. According to the developers, the peak data exchange rates in a real network deployment on multiple devices will be able to reach 30 Gb / s.

For comparison: the theoretical maximum data download speed in 5G networks is declared at up to 10 Gbps. For devices of the IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard, the theoretical combined “performance ceiling” is declared at the level of up to 11 Gb / s.

Citius, Altius, Fortius! (Faster, higher, stronger)

According to the documentation, the new 802.11be standard will continue to be based on Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) technology, but with improvements in the use of 4096-QAM quadrature modulation.

In addition, the MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output) multi-input and multi-output wireless data sharing technology of the latest iteration of the protocol will be further developed of the form of the so-called ‘cooperative’ MU-MIMO (CMU-MIMO), capable of accommodating up to 16 spatial data sources, twice as many as the Wi-Fi 6 standard. It is estimated that this alone will increase the throughput by 20% during data transmission.

The creators of the current Wi-Fi standard, however, consider this technology to be the most difficult issue that could emerge in the architecture of Wi-Fi 7, so CMU-MIMO would only be marketed as an additional alternative in the new standard along with modes with fewer channels.

The improvement in channel width to 320 MHz, which is almost twice as much as in Wi-Fi 6, would be another major advance in Wi-Fi 7. The probability of using such large frequency bands for each channel is determined on the basis of the prospects for adjusting the 6 GHz frequency spectrum to the specifications of license-free wireless networks-at least in certain countries where this spectrum is already being explored by Wi-Fi 6E network regulators.

Wi-Fi 7 output can be doubled by doubling the full channel width, respectively. The specification also allows for a hybrid mix of 160 + 160 MHz, 240 + 180 MHz and 160 + 80 MHz channel bands to improve throughput, with the possibility of merging frequency blocks into non-contiguous portions of the spectrum.

Multi-channel operation can be provided by the Wi-Fi 7 standard, allowing wireless networks to send and receive data concurrently over various channels or in different bands with control and data sharing channel isolation. According to the developers, this system would provide Wi-Fi 7 with the potential of substantially raising the speed of data transmission from multiple devices over a network, along with increasing the reliability of traffic transfers by minimizing delays.

The developers of Wi-Fi 7 also take into account the fact that the 6 GHz frequency spectrum will be heavily filled with data from other wireless systems, including 5 G cellular networks, by the time the standard is commercialized. For this reason, the final requirements of Wi-Fi 7 would also include the AFC (Automated Frequency Coordinator) currently being created, the task of which is to use the frequency spectrum effectively.

6 GHz frequency band: Crossroads in Europe

In different countries, the distribution of frequencies in the 6 GHz range for the needs of wireless networks is currently at varying and often conflicting points. Therefore, despite the permission already given by the US Federal Communications Commission ( FCC) to use the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E applications, and the positive shifts from the regulators of South Korea and the United Kingdom in this direction, Europe is still at a crossroads in this programme.

According to Andreas Geiss, Head of RF spectrum strategy at the European Commission for GD Link, the ratification process for the new frequency band is complicated by the presence not only of the 26 EU countries (excluding the UK) but also of all 48 European countries. The EE Times reported on the European Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications (CEPT).

The compilation of proposals from all CERT members should be completed by the end of November 2020, according to Geiss, following which they will be considered for harmonization by other European bodies, including the European Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC).

By April 2021, it is proposed that two versions of the regulations for the use of wireless devices in the range will be settled upon and accepted by European regulators. One of these models, Low Power Indoor (LPI), would only be equipped for indoor equipment, with maximum 480 MHz band frequency access.

Rather Low Power (VLP) equipment will be used both indoors and outside in the category of very low energy consumption, whereas the spectral bands for this can be split into two categories: 400 MHz and 80 MHz respectively.

It is expected that most 6 GHz Wi-Fi equipment will ship in the LPI category. The only recently developed and introduced VLP category will be mainly consumer devices such as virtual VR / AR glasses and other gadgets with smartphone connectivity.