Wi-Fi 7 will be more popular and cheaper than Wi-Fi 6


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The new wireless networking standard that will be certifiable by the end of the year describes a “massive hunger for Wi-Fi 7” and should be successful—and therefore spread—much faster than Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.

The power of PCs and smartphones is increasing, the amount of data we produce is exploding… and with it the traffic of wireless networks. In addition to 5G, which is strengthening its presence every day with its various revisions, the Wi-Fi protocol has recently received the 7e speed. From the end of 2023, the standard will have a certification program and the adoption movement will accelerate. So much so that Qualcomm understands adoption will be faster than Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E.

Read also: Wi-Fi 7 is coming faster than expected and Qualcomm is already promising crazy speeds (December 2022)​

But how does the American giant of radio waves and mobile SoCs get this statement out of its hat? ” Because the hunger for WiFi has become huge! said Rahul Patel, Vice President and Chief Connectivity, Cloud and Network Manager at Qualcomm. ” The number of personal devices connecting to Wi-Fi is constantly increasing. According to estimates (and regions of the world), there are at least 3.5 “radio” devices (1) per person. That makes between 15 and 22 devices per household says the kind man. The problem for our devices and our networks is that the more people on the line, the slower the speeds. And it is more difficult to enjoy good latency and a stable connection. And that’s where Wi-Fi 7 comes into its own.

(1): devices with wireless connection, here in Wi-Fi.

Need for speed and robustness… and good prices

Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7

Qualcomm is a major player in Wi-Fi 7 alongside Intel, MediaTek or Broadcom. (Qualcomm booth at MWC2023) © Adrian BRANCO / 01net.com

Network traffic is growing every day and spectrum frequencies are getting busier. However, the big advantage of Wi-Fi 7, which is based on the 6 GHz band introduced by Wi-Fi 6E, is that we offer this new “highway”. And that you can also “drive” on two lanes at the same time with the 7 standard. We double the channels, speeds and robustness “. Enough to meet the needs imposed by the advent of new equipment.” Between connected loudspeakers, surveillance cameras or connected doorbells, the number of home appliances that need a robust connection is constantly growing. And Wi-Fi 7 is made for it », promises the engineer.

When asked about the price of solutions upgraded to Wi-Fi6 and 6E, which are more expensive with each generation, he tempers and reassures. ” Yes, each generation is more complex than the last. And Wi-Fi 7 solutions will be more expensive to begin with he admits. Before you add that However, the price of Wi-Fi 7 will drop faster than Wi-Fi 6 thanks to the importance of demande”. A question that is not the only result of the renewal of today’s established markets.

Connect the rest of the world

In Fixed Wireless Access, which connects communities where hard building is difficult and/or expensive, the nature and quality of the Wi-Fi is important. Improvements in Wi-Fi 7 over previous versions connect more people more reliably than previous standards.

At the moment, 30% of the population is still not online says Rahul Patel. ” And Wi-Fi is one of the essential building blocks of the Fixed wireless access”. This technique combines technologies to connect villages and other remote communities. Because with its great complexity and its very specific antennas, 5G is expensive for everyone. Here, Wi-Fi 7 and its extensive coverage can act as a system to easily connect communities that can be connected through a 5G network The 5G network avoids the construction of expensive hard infrastructure (poles, fiber) and scatters the stations Wi-Fi 7 around it.

Wi-Fi 7 is already deployed in many market segments: both in smartphones and PCs, the number of designs is increasing, in the US and Taiwan notes Mr. Patel. This means that even if it will be necessary to wait for infrastructure development, the number of compatible terminals should already be significant by the end of the year. When the standard is finally certified.

Which leaves us asking the question: how can Qualcomm and its partners/competitors launch Wi-Fi 7 chips, knowing that certification is not yet ready? “ The standard and the various stages of development are fixed. And we are among the bodies that develop the standards. Only the compliance certification protocol needs to be formalized. We master our technologies very well, we are convinced that the products already launched are already capable of being certified ‘, he assures. For adding ” that software updates also make it possible to upgrade the hardware “.

Wi-Fi 8: a future standard in the making

Rahul Patel Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7

Rahul Patel, Vice President and Chief Connectivity, Cloud and Network Officer at Qualcomm. © Adrian BRANCO / 01net.com

I can’t get Mr. Patel to say anything technical about Wi-Fi 8. While standards are being chased about every four years, Wi-Fi 8 is for 2027 or 2028 and yet “ nothing is defined at the moment says the engineer. We are too early with the definition of the standard and the discussions (between the different players in the industry, ndr) are in class “.

Still a simple number with no quantified targets, of course we know that each new standard always brings more speed and at the same time connected products. However, Mr. Patel finally brought us an important element of this future standard: “ If we’re too early in setting the specs, though, I can tell you the goal is to make (from Wi-Fi 8) a lossless protocol. Speeds and latency are guaranteed in as many situations as possible Wi-Fi as reliable as a wired connection guarantees. A nice promise that will only see the light of day in 2027.