September 21, 2023


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What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6?

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What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6? The main chip and front-end PA are expected to be . 

After Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) was launched in the fall of 2019, with the launch of one of the first SoCs supporting Wi-Fi 6 last year, Snapdragon 865 mobile phones have gained rapid popularity.


On June 1, at the Computex online media conference, Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager of the connectivity and network department of Qualcomm, pointed out that Qualcomm has had mature production and product lines in the Wi-Fi 6 product line in the past two years.

Including mobile phones, PCs, routers, etc., Wi-Fi 6E has been produced since the second half of last year.


Going to the next generation of technology, should it be Wi-Fi 7?


What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6?


At present, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which develops Wi-Fi engineering standards, and the Wi-Fi Alliance, which certifies Wi-Fi technology, are still planning the prospects of next-generation Wi-Fi standards (one of which is IEEE 802.11be).

And Qualcomm, Broadcom (Broadcom), MediaTek (MediaTek) three major manufacturers have been developing related chips, but it will take 2-3 years to come out.


MediaTek also announced earlier this year that the company has already selected two Wi-Fi devices as the international Wi-Fi 6E standard certification test platform, becoming a contributor to the world’s latest technical standards.

In the report to shareholders this year, MediaTek also mentioned that it has begun to actively invest in the next generation of Wi-Fi 7.

It seems that the battlefield of Qualcomm and MediaTek will go all the way from smartphones to PCs, Wi-Fi routers and other Netcom chip fields. Infinitely extend.


Wi-Fi 7 will be equipped with a front-end module (FEM), power amplifier (PA) manufacturers Qorvo, Skyworks are also in the layout.

From Wi-Fi 5 to 6, the number of PAs in front-end modules has increased significantly, and it is expected that 6-liter 7 will continue to increase.

As we all know, PA products have always been pushing for high margins.

For the Wi-Fi front-end module used by routers, the ASP (Average Selling Price) of Wi-Fi 6 is estimated to be higher than that of Wi-Fi 5. About 50~60%, 6E is 50~60% higher than that of 6.

At present, the two major American PA manufacturers, Q and S, are gradually fading out Wi-Fi 5, focusing on the front end of Wi-Fi 6 /6E superior.



What are the enhancements to Wi-Fi 7?

Rahul Patel pointed out that 5G is divided into two technologies: Sub 6 and mmWave.

Since 5G has less penetration than 4G, it must be used indoors with Wi-Fi.

This year, as the global 5G penetration rate has risen rapidly, it has also driven a considerable wave Wi-Fi upgrade tide.


MIMO enhancement

Wi-Fi 7 is very likely to be the commercial name of the 802.11be standard in the future. Compared with Wi-Fi 6’s multi-user multi-output (MU-MIMO), where eight data streams work simultaneously, Wi-Fi 7 emphasizes “extremely high throughput”.

“Extremely High Throughput” (EHT), will support 16 data streams and support coordinated multi-user MIMO (CMU-MIMO).

Among them, C stands for Coordinated (coordinated), which means that 16 data streams may not be provided by one access point, but by multiple access points at the same time.


What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6?


Multi-link operation

Multi-link operation (MLO) enables devices to simultaneously transmit and receive across different frequency bands and channels.

Wi-Fi 7 attempts to enhance these links by increasing throughput, which is measured data between devices in the local network (LAN).

MLO will also reduce latency (network.server time) and improve reliability.


AP coordination

In terms of wireless access point (AP) coordination, Wi-Fi 7 improvements and enhancements may include the following: Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMAN), Spatial Reuse (SR), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Beamforming (BF), Joint Treatment (JT).

This upgrade can reduce the number of conflicts currently encountered by Wi-Fi 6.


320MHz transmission

Secondly, Wi-Fi 7 also introduces a new 6GHz frequency band. The three frequency bands (ie 2.4 GHz, 5GHz and 6 GHz) work at the same time.

It will also expand the width of a single channel from Wi-Fi 6’s 160MHz to 320MHz. Up to 46 Gbps.

Wi-Fi 7 will also support 160+160MHz, 240+180MHZ and 160+80MHz channels to combine non-contiguous spectrum blocks, which also means that it can provide higher quality network connections.


What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6?


Higher modulation

Most wireless networks use Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM).

This technique involves a signal in which two carrier waves are modulated and combined into one channel.

The Wi-Fi 5 standard supports 256-QAM, while the Wi-Fi 6 standard supports 1024-QAM, which increases the original data it carries by about 25%.

It is expected that the modulation method of Wi-Fi 7 will be upgraded to 4096-QAM, which will increase the throughput by an additional 20%, and the final speed can reach 30Gbps, which is three times the current Wi-Fi 6 network speed of 9.6Gbps.


What are the enhancements of Wi-Fi 7 compared to Wi-Fi 6?


Strengthen OFDMA

Starting with Wi-Fi 6, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) was introduced.

This technology enables multiple users with different bandwidth requirements to connect to a single AP at the same time. Wi-Fi 7 will continue to use OFDMA, but with greater flexibility.

The enhanced OFDMA version will allow allocation of punctured resource units (RU) to a single station (STA) and will also support direct link transmission.

These improvements will increase spectrum efficiency and reduce latency, thereby improving the overall user experience.


Low latency

Many of the enhancements/changes listed above (ie MLO, multiple APs, wider channels) will further reduce latency and make it more predictable.



There is no equal sign between “Wi-Fi 7” and “Next Generation Wi-Fi Standard”


Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 will face a golden upgrade period this year, and the Wi-Fi market is expected to grow rapidly this year.

Whether it is Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E or future Wi-Fi 7, there will be good compatibility.



But the question now is, do these features really belong to “Wi-Fi 7”? Because the “next generation Wi-Fi standard” and “Wi-Fi 7” may not draw an equal sign directly.

Because there is more than one next-generation Wi-Fi standard, and “Wi-Fi 7” is just a commercial symbol promoted by the Wi-Fi Alliance to ordinary consumers.

If the next-generation “Wi-Fi 7” standard is destined to increase speed by introducing new wireless frequency bands that are different from the past, then 11be technology is not the only choice, or even the best choice.

Because there is a new faster Wi-Fi standard called IEEE 802.11ay, which uses the ultra-high wireless frequency band of 60GHz, specifically for the future indoor application environment (such as 8K video streaming, wireless VR headset) It is born, and its single data stream (single antenna) bandwidth can be as high as 44Gbps, and it supports up to four data streams concurrently, which is a bandwidth of 176Gbps.


Which standard will be used as “Wi-Fi 7” in the future? At least it hasn’t been finalized yet.



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