We Barely Have Wi-Fi 6 But Wi-Fi 7 Is On Its Way

It may even be faster than wired internet!

For those unaware of what Wi-Fi 6 is about, be sure to refer to our write-up on it. To put it simply, Wi-Fi 6 all about serving the internet to multiple devices faster on one connection. It will require devices to be Wi-Fi 6 compliant, and the latest phones, laptops and network equipment has just started arriving with such capabilities. But it looks like engineers are always on the go, as they're now looking into Wi-Fi 7.

With speeds as high as 30 gigabits per second, this next generation of Wi-Fi promises better streaming video, longer range and fewer problems with traffic congestion. Just like 5G, the change will come in a series of steps, beginning with improvements to Wi-Fi 6 that will lay the groundwork for the expected arrival of Wi-Fi 7 in 2024.

Pioneering this is Qualcomm, who were enthusiastic to share what they're keen to do. "I'm excited about delivering a gigabit everywhere in your house, every nook and cranny," said V.K. Jones, Qualcomm's vice president of technology. "You'll be at the point where wireless is faster than wired."

In a talk and subsequent interview at Qualcomm's Wi-Fi Day in August, Jones also shared some details on how Wi-Fi 7 will work. He expects three phases of improvements over today's Wi-Fi 6, which in technical circles is called 802.11ax. The first expected improvement is meant to give Wi-Fi 6 more capacity, with new airwaves that US and European governments are likely to open up for radio transmission as soon as next year. Second, an update to Wi-Fi 6 in 2022 should improve its speeds, especially for people uploading data like videos from phones or PCs. Third, and perhaps most interesting, is a collection of Wi-Fi upgrades expected in 2024 and still known only by its technical name of 802.11be, which is likely to receive the Wi-Fi 7 label.

Of course, nobody's ready to deal with Wi-Fi 7 yet. Even the Wi-Fi Alliance, the consortium that comes up with the numbers and bestows its Wi-Fi logo on products that pass its certification tests, has yet to certify Wi-Fi 6 products, as it only begins later this year! But just like the whole 5G and 6G debacle, it's bound to make living in a world of IoT even more possible.