Wi-Fi gets an upgrade to improve remote work and VR experiences

8 Jan 2024

Image: © Pixel-Shot/Stock.adobe.com

The Wi-Fi Alliance has declared the latest iteration of the tech, Wi-Fi 7, to be certifiable, which means that home internet speed is about to get a big boost.

A newer, faster version of Wi-Fi is now available that can better support high-bandwidth and low-latency activities such as streaming, the use of AR and VR technologies, gaming and communication services while working from home.

Announced by the non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance today (8 January), Wi-Fi 7 is now certifiable – meaning that participating manufacturers can say their new products meet the updated standard.

This promises worldwide interoperability and a “robust, sophisticated” device ecosystem by making the most of the high-speed 6 GHz band used in many countries, including Ireland.

According to the Alliance, which is made up of companies including Apple, Microsoft and Intel, Wi-Fi 7 will see “rapid adoption” across a broad ecosystem with more than 233m devices expected to enter the market in 2024. This is expected to grow to 2.1bn devices by 2028.

“The introduction of Wi-Fi Certified 7 marks the emergence of the latest generation of Wi-Fi and will be an accelerant to mass adoption of Wi-Fi 7,” said Kevin Robinson, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

“This certification underscores our relentless commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology that redefines the way users experience Wi-Fi, providing faster speeds, improved efficiency and increased reliability which expand the horizons of what is possible through Wi-Fi.”

Major tech companies including Broadcom, Intel and Qualcomm “form the test bed” for certification and are responsible for the first Wi-Fi 7 devices.

“Intel-powered PCs and IoT [internet of things] products with Wi-Fi 7 will enable multigigabit speeds with wired-like responsiveness and new extreme levels of connection reliability. Ecosystem collaboration and interoperability are essential to help deliver on these expectations,” said Eric McLaughlin of the Wireless Solutions Group at Intel.

The previous iteration of the technology, Wi-Fi 6, was declared by the alliance as certifiable in September 2019, designed with the IoT ecosystem in mind, allowing for a greater number of devices in one network but also increasing data speeds overall.

“Over the past two and a half decades, Wi-Fi has revolutionised the way we interact and function as a society. It stands as the foremost technology for daily connectivity. We are still at the dawn of the 6 GHz era, heralded by Wi-Fi 6E and we are poised to unlock unprecedented wireless user experiences,” said David Coleman of Extreme Networks.

“Wi-Fi 7, which is the next step of this evolution, signifies more than an incremental upgrade – it’s a leap into a realm where speed, capacity and reliability converge to meet the insatiable demands of our connected world.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic