The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that developments of Wi-Fi 7 are going so fast, that the Wi-Fi 7 specification will be finalized by the end of the first quarter, opening the doors to adopting standardized hardware by businesses and enterprises.

Wi-Fi 7 (Image credit: Shutterstock)

"Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7, based on IEEE 802.11be technology, will be available before the end of Q1 2024," the Wi-Fi Alliance states. "Wi-Fi 7 devices are entering the market today, and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 7 will facilitate worldwide interoperability and bring advanced Wi-Fi performance to the next era of connected devices."

Wi-Fi 7 is shaping up to be a big deal in wireless connections, offering speeds up to 40 Gbit/s. This could make it a strong alternative to traditional wired Ethernet for most people. It achieves these speeds using three frequency bands: 2.40 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz, using a channel width of 320 MHz and 4096-QAM. Furthermore, Wi-Fi 7 builds on what Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E started, including features like MU-MIMO and OFDMA to speed up connections. All told, this delivers up to a 4.8X improvement over Wi-Fi 6.

While numerous Wi-Fi 7-badged adapters for PCs and routers are on the market today, they follow the so-called 'draft' Wi-Fi 7 specification. This does not make them any worse on the consumer level, and most existing 'draft' devices will support the full standard after a firmware update. But for enterprises residing in fully crowded office buildings, fully ratified devices are a must because they must work over very specific frequencies. 

One of the wrinkles about the new technology is that the Wi-Fi Alliance is positioning them for AR/VR, which means direct wireless connections, which are hard to get in modern environments.

"Wi-Fi 7 supports superior connectivity for emerging use cases with high levels of interactivity and immersion," another statement by the Alliance reads. "As user demand for high capacity, low latency technologies like AR/VR/XR, cloud computing, and Industrial IoT grows across market segments, Wi-Fi 7 devices will deliver optimized performance, even in dense environments in the 2.4 and 5 GHz band. Countries with access to 6 GHz will experience the full scope of Wi-Fi 7’s unparalleled performance."

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