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WiFi7 is here. What is it? What are the improvements? What is it used for?


It’s finally here! Since January 9, 2024, the new standard, WiFi7, has been available, announced by the WiFi Alliance, bringing many innovations and much better performance compared to previous standards.

What is WiFi7?

WiFi7 is the common name for the new standard 802.11be, and it is the only one designed to operate in all three frequency bands: 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz.

As we have more and more devices connected simultaneously, each consuming more bandwidth, the need arises not only to continue expanding the emission spectrum but also to be more effective in its use. WiFi 7 is born to solve this problem, making WiFi not only faster but also smarter. Below, we will see the improvements it brings over previous versions.

WiFi7: Improvements it incorporates

Blazingly fast: The maximum speed of this standard is 46 Gbps, almost 5 times faster than the previous 9.6 Gbps standard. It also has 320 MHz of channel width compared to the previous 160 MHz.

4K QAM: Quadrature Amplitude Modulation is a technique that allows overlapping different emissions on the same channel without causing interference. This technology is not new, but in WiFi7, its performance is increased by 20% compared to WiFi6.

16×16 MIMO: The capacity of transmitters and receivers is doubled. You can refer to our article on MIMO Technology: Optimize Your WiFi Network to learn more about it.

Multi-Operation MLO: The novelty of this standard is the ability to transmit data using different frequency bands simultaneously for the same communication, allowing two different approaches depending on the need.

  • On one hand, there is Multi-radio, which allows sending and receiving data simultaneously to have greater bandwidth.
  • And on the other hand, there is Single-radio, which allows sending or receiving data always through the least congested frequency, thus achieving lower latency.

Multiple Resource Units or Multi RU: It allows a user to take advantage of available resource units to increase network efficiency. For example, if one communication is using only 40 MHz of an 80 MHz channel, another communication can use the remaining 40 MHz, supporting different bandwidth communications such as 60, 120, 200, 240, or 280 MHz.

Preamble Puncturing: This allows flexible use of channels, as in case of interference, it allows not canceling the entire channel and only using the unaffected part of the channel.

In summary, the improvements of this new standard focus on increasing existing capabilities while making more efficient use of the network. Luckily, we can already see WiFi analysis and study tools such as Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps that now incorporate support to fully leverage this technology.

Comparison between WiFi standards

  WiFi7 WiFi6E WiFi6 WiFi5
IEEE Standard 802.11be 802.11ax 802.11ax 802.11ac
Max. Speed 46 Gbps 9.6 Gbps 9.6 Gbps 3.5 Gbps
Bands 2.4, 5 y 6 GHz 2.4, 5 y 6 GHz 2.4 y 5 GHz 5 GHz
Channel widht Up to 320 MHz 20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz 20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz 20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz
Modulation 4096 QAM 1024 QAM 1024 QAM 256 QAM
MIMO 16×16 8×8 8×8 4×4
Source: Wi-Fi 7 TP-Link

Country restrictions (6GHz approval status list)

Fortunately, the use of the 6GHz band is already approved in most countries in the Americas. However, in most of Europe and Australia, only a portion of the 6GHz spectrum is available, and many countries are yet to approve the use of this band. In this list from the WiFi Alliance, you can check the approval status of this frequency in your country:

Source: Countries enabling Wi-Fi in 6 GHz (Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7) | Wi-Fi Alliance

Use cases

There are two main and complementary use cases, situations where it is necessary to have a multitude of devices connected with minimal losses, or devices demanding both bandwidth (such as a TV receiving 8K video or VR/AR devices) and latency (remote control or competitive gaming).