By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Qualcomm says Wi-Fi 7 certification – which as of today is available from the Wi-Fi Alliance – will drive fast mainstream adoption of Wi-Fi 7 technology and even open up for entirely new markets. Wi-Fi 7 chipset platforms from the Wi-Fi technology leader have thus far been incorporated into more than 450 Wi-Fi 7 designs across all device categories – a staggering number – and unsurprisingly, Qualcomm’s chipsets have been selected as reference platforms for Wi-Fi 7 certification testing by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company says.
Certification – which ensures interoperability of devices – has always been key to the popular adoption and success of any Wi-Fi technology and in this sense Wi-Fi 7 is no different. Usually the certification milestone for a new Wi-Fi standard leads to the launch of next generation premium Wi-Fi products first and mainstream products later. But in the case of Wi-Fi 7 there is a marked difference, says Andy Davidson, Senior Director of Engineering at Qualcomm.
“There’s no doubt that Wi-Fi 7 devices will be incorporated into both premium and mainstream products immediately. We know this because we’ve already been selected by our partners for hundreds of Wi-Fi 7 designs. In part this is the result of all of our platforms supporting Wi-Fi 7 early. But it’s also because the Wi-Fi industry understands that Wi-Fi 7 ushers in a sea change in the connected user experience. The new standard will deliver enormous connectivity value,” Andy Davidson says.
Historically, new Wi-Fi standards have always opened up for new markets and this will no doubt be the case for Wi-Fi 7 as well, Andy Davidson says. “We’re excited about Wi-Fi 7 delivering highly reliable, very low-latency connectivity for example for industrial IoT. But XR will likely also be transformed because Wi-Fi 7 will enable XR-type experiences for multiple users in the same location. This has previously been a big connectivity challenge,” he says.
Wi-Fi 7 will comfortably deliver raw connectivity speeds and capacities into the multiple gigabits per second using 320 MHz channels and 4kQAM modulation. But the new standard’s marquee feature is arguably multi-link operation (MLO), which consistently drives latencies down to low millisecond levels while boosting reliability and speed, Qualcomm says.
Qualcomm released the world’s first commercial Wi-Fi 7 chipset solution for end-user devices (FastConnect 7800) in February 2022. In May 2022 the company released the Networking Pro platform for premium Wi-Fi 7 APs and gateways, while the mainstream Immersive Home platform designed mostly for consumer-grade APs and mesh was launched in December 2022.
The Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification announcement comes in advance of next week’s CES 2024, where it is widely expected that an array of new Wi-Fi 7 devices will be announced. Even leading consumer electronics news source Engadget mentions Wi-Fi 7 in their CES preview here. Wi-Fi NOW will be covering Wi-Fi news from CES 2024 in detail so keep following us for the latest updates.
In the case of Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 platform for mobile phones, compute, and XR-type devices, the multi-link operation feature is dubbed High Band Simultaneous (HBS) Multilink, which allows multiple links to be established in both 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands. For more read here.