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Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices have only really been around for a few years, and already the next generation of internet connection is upon us. Talk around the next iteration (Wi-Fi 7) started around last year and is expected to officially launch next year in 2024. (Why is “officially” italicized, you ask? Well, it just so happens that TP-Link is leading the charge by launching their line of Wi-Fi 7 routers, which are ready to be shipped this year.)
Why would anyone care about this right now, especially since they might’ve already recently upgraded to a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E routers and many devices are not compatible with Wi-Fi 7 routers? In this blog, we’ll go over what Wi-Fi 7 is, how it can better connect individuals, and when we think it will pick up steam in utilization.
What Is Wi-Fi 7?
Naturally, Wi-Fi 7 builds on what we have already seen from Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. When we discuss improved Wi-Fi connectivity, your mind might jump to faster speeds, enhanced responsiveness, and improved reliability…all of which Wi-Fi 7 offers. Wi-Fi 7 has 320MHz channels, which is twice the size of the channels in Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. This means that more data can be transmitted between channels. By leveraging Wi-Fi 7’s Multi-Link Operation (MLO) functionality, individuals can take full advantage of the 320MHz channels these routers provide. As a result, compatible devices will have the capability to simultaneously send and receive data from various bands and channels—meaning that multiple devices do not have to connect to a single band on a shared, fixed channel. Pair MLO with Wi-Fi 7’s puncturing functionality, which prevents any interferences from making a channel totally useless, and you have a wireless internet connection that is more reliable than ever before.
Since Wi-Fi 7 is still in its infancy, early adopters might not have devices that are compatible with connecting with this new tech. They shouldn’t worry, though, as these routers have backwards compatibility to Wi-Fi 6- and Wi-Fi 6E-compatible devices.
What Are the Positives of Introducing Wi-Fi 7 to Work Environments?
It should go without saying that a more reliable internet connection is still quite beneficial across the board. For instance, we all probably know of one remote worker on our teams who depends on an unreliable internet connection to join calls. Or maybe they have trouble accessing documents and platforms that are only available to them online, slowing down or putting a stop to what they’re doing. (I know this is an issue I’ve faced from time to time!) It can be frustrating, especially if it impedes on their ability to communicate with others. If these are common enough issues, then perhaps it would be a good time to consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi 7 router (if you are able to).
Okay, how about we mention a potential use case outside of the norm…There has been so much focus around remote work and remote meetings—especially regarding how teams interact with one another with everyone based in different locations. Maybe your organization is already looking past the video calls we’ve had on Zoom and Teams these last few years and are weighing the benefits of whether meetings held in virtual reality would be optimal. If so, simply having a VR headset isn’t enough to hold an interactive session as it is key to have a strong, stable internet connection to meet in a virtual space. Wi-Fi 7 routers could very well ensure that complicated remote meeting solutions have the bandwidth needed for stable, immersive experiences among team members.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Now seems to be the ideal time for Wi-Fi 7 routers and devices to emerge—especially when looking at the needs of the remote worker since organizations have had a few years to gauge what is needed on a technical level to support modern workflows. By addressing the pain points they may face mentioned above, a more reliable internet connection can lead to a more productive workforce. As remote work is becoming more normalized, it will be commonplace for individuals to be working at home sharing their internet with others under the same roof. MLO can ensure that individuals relying on the same router won’t have to worry about low performance and connectivity issues typically caused by congestion, eliminating them or (at least) bringing them to a minimum.
However, much of this is dependent on how much of an organization’s employees have access to Wi-Fi 7 devices in their remote place of work. As of this blog’s publication, Wi-Fi 7 routers and compatible devices are not readily available to the public. With that in mind, we cannot expect many organizations and individuals to jump on this right this second. Once they have more of a presence in the market, we can easily see these routers being used to support home or other remote offices. When this occurs in the next few years, it won’t be a surprise to see more technically demanding digital tools come about to further enhance the collaborative efforts of teams in industries across the globe.
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