Key Features & Benefits of WiFi 7: A Comprehensive Overview



WiFi 7 is the most powerful WiFi standard yet, unlocking a whole new world of connected experiences and changing the way people work and play. WiFi 7 doubles the bandwidth of WiFi 6 and 6E, with all-new features that make it a worthy upgrade to take full advantage of the 6 GHZ band.

The Future is Now with WiFi 7

These are exciting times in the WiFi-connected world, with greater capacity and potential than ever before. With WiFi 7, you can expect 2.4 times the throughput, reduced latency, extended range, and greater reliability. Combined, these improved capabilities support the latest emerging applications that include 16K video streaming, real-time gaming, immersive virtual reality, music production, and much more.

The evolution of next-generation WiFi 7 is supported by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the WiFi Alliance (WFA). WiFi 7 provides future-proof wireless connections for the home, the office, or somewhere in between, providing exceptional speeds and high network capacity.

What is WiFi 7?
WiFi 7 is IEEE 802.11be in the old naming convention. WiFi 6 was IEEE 802.11ax, and WiFi 5 was IEEE 802.11ac. As with previous standards, WiFi 7 is backward compatible. In other words, all your older devices will continue to function as normal when using WiFi 7. The full benefits of WiFi 7 will come into play as you upgrade your routers, access points, laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, and other WiFi 7-enabled tech.

Comparing WiFi 7 to WiFi 6E

WiFi 7 uses the same wireless bands as WiFi 6E – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz, so you may be wondering what distinguishes WiFi 7 from WiFi 6E. Here are some notable improvements and upgrades.

Wider Channels

Each WiFi band is broken into channels. The 2.4 GHz band comprises 11 channels of 20 megahertz (MHz) each, and the 5 GHz band has 45 channels that can be combined to create 40 MHz or 80 MHz channels. The 6 GHz band supports 60 channels, and WiFi 6E channels can be as wide as 160 MHz. WiFi 7 doubles this, supporting channels that are up to 320 MHz wide. The wider the channel, the more data (traffic) it can comfortably carry and transmit.

Higher QAM

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) transmits and receives data in radio-frequency waves. The higher the QAM, the more information the radio waves can pack in. WiFi 7 supports 4K QAM. WiFi 6 supports 1024 QAM, and WiFi 5 is limited to 256 QAM.
It’s worth understanding that as QAM goes up, the range drops, and you may need a stronger signal to appreciate all the WiFi 7 benefits. This is where whole-home WiFi mesh systems such as the NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series Quad-Band WiFi 7 come into play.

Multi-Link Operation (MLO)

Previous WiFi standards established device connections on a single band. A tri-band WiFi 6E router, for example, chooses the most suitable connection from the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or 6 GHz bands. MLO, on the other hand, can combine frequencies into a single connection using different bands simultaneously. WiFi 7 takes congestion and interference into account using wider channels and transmitting on the best available channel.

Multi Resource Units (RU) and Puncturing

With earlier WiFi versions, including WiFi 6/6E, when a part of a high-speed channel is used by another device, the entire channel becomes unavailable. Your device will then need to find another channel to transmit data. With Multi-RU Puncturing, WiFi 7 devices can use other parts of the same high-speed channel that are not in use.

WiFi 7 also enhances existing technologies like Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO), and target wake time (TWT).

Does WiFi 7 bring immediate benefits?

WiFi 7 is faster, supports more connections, and is more adaptive for low-latency performance. These benefits deliver high-quality video streaming, downloads, and better cloud gaming. They are also perfect for data-hungry augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) programs. WiFi 7 uses groundbreaking technology to tackle congestion and interference, particularly useful in busy and crowded wireless environments.

The need for WiFi 7

Our digital lifestyles are more dependent on reliable broadband connectivity than ever before, and 10G broadband is now a reality. The multi-gigabit broadband capability is driving even more demand for reliable wireless data and networking. For example, consumer spending on data-hungry gaming applications has increased by 40 percent during the last couple of years, and users are increasingly reliant on augmented reality and virtual reality headsets and gaming devices that offer unprecedented levels of immersion.

This transformation in consumer demand calls for WiFi that is blazing-fast, with very low deterministic latencies across the entire home or office network. WiFi 7 is also tailor-made for the connected home and the Internet of Things (IoT), where lots of smart home appliances and gadgets are connected to the internet simultaneously.

A brief history of the digital WiFi revolution

In the early 2010s, WiFi 5 effectively solved the need for ever-increasing consumer demand for activities such as video streaming. Toward the end of that decade, a whole new generation of applications such as WhatsApp, TikTok, and Facebook Live made their entry, and WiFi 6 was the perfect solution for keeping up with the times.

WiFi 6E extended the capacity and benefits of WiFi 6 for even better performance. Since then, next-generation use cases such as indoor networking, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and dense public deployments have become the norm. Major WiFi brands such as Broadcom, Intel, and NETGEAR have continually evolved to meet the challenge.

The WiFi Standards Evolution

Next-generation WiFi brings a wealth of improvements and a whole new level of responsiveness and consistency. For more than 20 years, WiFi technology has been keeping the world connected by meeting the growing needs of the WiFi user base. WiFi 7 dramatically expands upon the innovation of WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E to enable faster speeds and improve responsiveness.

Today’s multi-gigabit internet plans are outpacing WiFi technology, but WiFi 7 offers a revolutionary change. The new standard, dubbed EHT for Extremely High Throughput, makes true multi-gigabit WiFi a reality with faster speeds, less interference, and better performance for today’s many high-bandwidth activities.
WiFi 7 increases maximum speeds from 9.6Gbps to a stunning 46Gbps, so you can take full advantage of today’s ultra-fast internet plans with gigabit-plus performance on your devices.

320MHz high-capacity channels

The new, ultra-wide WiFi 7 bandwidth means double the speed for your devices. For example, WiFi 7 smartphones can achieve speeds up to 5Gbps. This opens up exciting opportunities for AR and VR applications. The 1.2GHz spectrum in the 6GHz band makes the 320MHz ultra-wide band possible and allows more routers to operate in congested WiFi neighbourhoods. Plus, a jump from 10-bit to 12-bit 4096 QAM modulation packs in 20% more data transmission for seamless video streaming and other data-hungry operations.

WiFi 7 taps into both 6 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi bands simultaneously to avoid network traffic congestion and keep you connected if you move out of range of one band. This multi-link operation enables devices to send and receive data across both WiFi bands, increasing throughput. Plus, if your neighbour’s WiFi is slowing your network down, WiFi 7 preamble puncturing can slice off a part of the channel to transmit your data without interference.

WiFi 7 with the NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series Quad-Band Mesh System

The all-new NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series with WiFi 7 unleashes speeds up to 27Gbps for unparalleled performance and coverage for your whole home – upstairs, downstairs, and even out in the yard. The Orbi 970 delivers 2.4x faster speeds than WiFi 6 and is fully backward compatible with older WiFi devices.

NETGEAR Orbi 970 potential includes 8K streaming, seamless video conferencing, data-hungry gaming, VR, and more. The exclusive, patented quad-band technology with enhanced dedicated backhaul ensures your WiFi stays fast, stable, and secure across all devices simultaneously.

The elegant high-performance antennas provide exceptional 360° WiFi coverage across every corner of your home, and you can also achieve the fastest speeds available today and tomorrow with a 10 Gig internet port.
Orbi works with any internet service provider, and the Orbi app makes it a breeze to set up and manage. NETGEAR Armor software provides an automatic shield of security for your WiFi and connected devices (PC, phone, camera, TV, etc.) for real-time protection against hackers and added privacy with VPN.

Unleash the Potential of WiFi 7: Entertainment, Gaming, and Beyond

Reaching out to the Metaverse

WiFi 7 brings the Metaverse one step closer to reality. The Metaverse is an immersive world of virtual reality, IoT applications, state-of-the-art medical and scientific technology, and a plethora of new-age experiences. The Metaverse is described as a place where people interact in real time with people and things in other places. The performance, speed, latency, and determinism of WiFi 7 solve the connectivity issues, making the potential of next-generation WiFi routers almost unlimited.
In theory, the Metaverse can make our lives easier and more enjoyable with immersive, real-time experiences. The Metaverse will also include smart speakers, security systems, entertainment systems, distance education, virtual relationships, and more.

WiFi 7 for entertainment

WiFi 7 opens new doors for home entertainment. The improved bandwidth potential and speeds allow for streaming of 4K and 8K content throughout the home. You and your family can simultaneously stream videos, host podcasts, gaming, make Zoom calls, and browse the web without getting in each other’s way or slowing one another down. WiFi 7 unleashes a whole new world of next-generation AR and VR content. Immersiveness with life-like responsiveness is a very real possibility.

WiFi 7 for gamers

With WiFi 7, gamers experience lower latency, removing annoying lag issues that hamper gaming enjoyment. Games will download and render faster and clearer than ever before. WiFi 7 opens up the future for AR and VR gaming where users can stream ultra-high-definition content seamlessly with real-time responsiveness.

WiFi 7 for home

WiFi 7 brings immediate improvements for today’s smart homes. The rise of remote work, learning, and video streaming platforms had pushed the capabilities of WiFi technology and bandwidth to the limit. WiFi 7 eliminates glitchy video conferencing, slow downloads, and stagnant buffering. WiFi 7 offers more speed, bandwidth, and the ability to handle many smart home devices at once.

WiFi 7 access points for business

WiFi 7 for business will unlock many new capabilities. Users will experience noticeable performance improvements on shared office networks thanks to improved speed, greater bandwidth, and new features like multi-link operation.
WiFi 7 access points unlock intriguing potential for incorporating AR and VR into the workplace. Exciting possibilities include next-gen hardware such as AR-enhanced heads-up displays, IoT-enhanced smart office products, and improved workplace automation technologies.

Recap - Upgrading to WiFi 7

WiFi 7 (also known as 802.11be) uses the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz bands just like WiFi 6E. However, possibly the biggest selling point of WiFi 7 is Extremely High Throughput (EHT). This allows WiFi 7 routers to reach unprecedented Gbps speeds.
Another big advantage of the latest WiFi standard is that it has several multi-link options to increase throughput and reduce latency. Traditional WiFi devices use a single link to transmit data, but WiFi 7’s Multi-Link Operation (MLO) makes it possible for devices to simultaneously send and receive data across different frequency bands and channels.

WiFi 7 is 4.8x faster than WiFi 6E. The battery life of your smartphone, laptop, and other connected devices will also see an increase by using WiFi 7’s new Target Wake Time feature that lets your router reserve bandwidth for certain types of transmissions.

WiFi 6E opened up more bandwidth, and WiFi 7 offers even more with a 320MHz channel width available on the 6 GHz band. This is double the maximum channel bandwidth of the 5GHz band and almost four times the available channel bandwidth on the 2.4GHz band.
If an improved user experience with faster data rates and greater immersive potential sounds tempting, it’s probably time to experience the quantum leap to the all-new WiFi 7.