What Wi-Fi 7 Can Do for Your Home Network
Although Wi-Fi 6 and 6E devices are just starting to get popular, the first Wi-Fi 7 routers are already here. So, if you want to be ready for this next-gen Wi-Fi experience, check out what Wi-Fi 7 will mean for your home network over the next few years. Frontier can help get you started with a powerful Wi-Fi 7 router to support your network of devices.
What is Wi-Fi 7?
Wi-Fi 7 is the seventh generation of Wi-Fi. You don’t remember Wi-Fi 1 or Wi-Fi 2, because they didn’t really exist, at least not by that name. Wi-Fi generations used to be known exclusively by archaic strings of letters and numbers, but that changed a few years ago. That happened when the Wi-Fi Alliance—the group responsible for developing the Wi-Fi protocol—renamed IEEE 802.11ax to Wi-Fi 6 (and retroactively renamed Wi-Fi 4 and 5). Technically, Wi-Fi 7 is IEEE 802.11be, but we’ll stick with the easier naming convention.
If you have a family collection of smartphones, laptops, game consoles, smart home tech and all the rest, the devices in your house probably rely on some combination of Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. The good news is that all these devices will be compatible with any Wi-Fi 7 router, although they won’t benefit from its more advanced features. So, even if you get a shiny new Wi-Fi 7 router, you won’t have to replace your smartphone just yet.
But if all these Wi-Fi standards are still relevant, what’s the point of Wi-Fi 7? Read on.
Wi-Fi 7 is faster
Every new generation of Wi-Fi brings faster wireless speeds to your network, at least theoretically. However, because so many factors affect your real-world Wi-Fi speeds, it’s impossible to know exactly how fast your network will be. Still, let’s look at things in general terms.
Wi-Fi 6E, the previous update to the Wi-Fi protocol, has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 9.6 Gbps and real-world speeds of up to about 2,400 Mbps under ideal conditions. Wi-Fi 7 has the potential to be much faster; it has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 46.1 Gbps and real-world speeds of up to about 11.5 Gbps under ideal conditions.
To get these faster speeds, Wi-Fi 7 relies on a few neat innovations. Two of the most important are the new 320 MHz channel and 4K-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), both of which allow more data to be transmitted at once. (You can read more about them here.)
Another exciting new feature is called Multi-Link Operation (MLO). Until now, Wi-Fi could only connect two devices using a single channel on a single frequency band. With MLO, Wi-Fi 7 will be able to combine multiple channels across different frequency bands into a single connection. This will allow for not only faster bandwidths, but also more efficient data transfer. Your router will be able to select channels that aren’t being used by other devices and ensure a super stable Wi-Fi connection.
Wi-Fi 7 supports more devices, more seamlessly
Wi-Fi 7 also offers features that make it easier to have more devices running on your home network without any issues. MLO is one part of it, but there are others.
Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), which was included in Wi-Fi 6, allows several devices to connect using the same channel. Multiple Resource Unit (MRU) functionality in Wi-Fi 7 improves upon it and allows your router to more efficiently divide up a channel between the different devices using it. Similarly, the number of Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) connections has also been doubled, from 8 to 16.
Combined, all these features mean that if you’ve got lots of smart home devices that don’t need to send that much data all that often. They won’t hog your connection and slow things down for your other more data-hungry devices.
Who will benefit from Wi-Fi 7?
Over the next few years, everyone will benefit from Wi-Fi 7. It enables you to have a faster, more stable home network that supports more devices. In particular:
- If you have a multi-gig fiber connection, Wi-Fi 7 will allow you to get gigabit speed uploads and downloads over your wireless connection.
- If you have lots of devices in your home, Wi-Fi 7 will enable them to operate seamlessly without interfering with each other.
- If you stream games, movies or anything else over your home network, Wi-Fi 7 will make everything run smoother.
What do I need for Wi-Fi 7?
The main thing you’ll need in order to take advantage of Wi-Fi 7 is a new router. Then it’s a matter of updating your smartphone, computer and game consoles as new versions that support Wi-Fi 7 become available. You’ll then be ready to get the most from this next-gen Wi-Fi.
Frontier Fiber is built for the way you live today—and tomorrow
If you’re still on the lookout for the right ultrafast internet connection for streaming, gaming, working from home and running your smart home—all with enough bandwidth for everyone—find out about Frontier Fiber. Frontier Fiber is available in select areas—check here. Then make sure your Wi-Fi network is ready for next-gen performance at gig speed with Frontier’s eero Max 7 router.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.